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Comparative Analysis in Acquisition of Coding Skills

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Students learn in various ways \u2014 visualization, auditory, memorizing, or making analogies. Traditional lecturing in engineering courses and the learning styles of engineering students are inharmonious causing students to be at a disadvantage based on their learning style (Felder &

Students learn in various ways \u2014 visualization, auditory, memorizing, or making analogies. Traditional lecturing in engineering courses and the learning styles of engineering students are inharmonious causing students to be at a disadvantage based on their learning style (Felder & Silverman, 1988). My study analyzes the traditional approach to learning coding skills which is unnatural to engineering students with no previous exposure and examining if visual learning enhances introductory computer science education. Visual and text-based learning are evaluated to determine how students learn introductory coding skills and associated problem solving skills. My study was conducted to observe how the two types of learning aid the students in learning how to problem solve as well as how much knowledge can be obtained in a short period of time. The application used for visual learning was Scratch and Repl.it was used for text-based learning. Two exams were made to measure the progress made by each student. The topics covered by the exam were initialization, variable reassignment, output, if statements, if else statements, nested if statements, logical operators, arrays/lists, while loop, type casting, functions, object orientation, and sorting. Analysis of the data collected in the study allow us to observe whether the traditional method of teaching programming or block-based programming is more beneficial and in what topics of introductory computer science concepts.

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2018-05

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memeBot: Automatic Image Meme Generation for Online Social Interaction

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Internet memes have become a widespread tool used by people for interacting and exchanging ideas over social media, blogs, and open messengers. Internet memes most commonly take the form of an image which is a combination of image, text, and

Internet memes have become a widespread tool used by people for interacting and exchanging ideas over social media, blogs, and open messengers. Internet memes most commonly take the form of an image which is a combination of image, text, and humor, making them a powerful tool to deliver information. Image memes are used in viral marketing and mass advertising to propagate any ideas ranging from simple commercials to those that can cause changes and development in the social structures like countering hate speech.

This work proposes to treat automatic image meme generation as a translation process, and further present an end to end neural and probabilistic approach to generate an image-based meme for any given sentence using an encoder-decoder architecture. For a given input sentence, a meme is generated by combining a meme template image and a text caption where the meme template image is selected from a set of popular candidates using a selection module and the meme caption is generated by an encoder-decoder model. An encoder is used to map the selected meme template and the input sentence into a meme embedding space and then a decoder is used to decode the meme caption from the meme embedding space. The generated natural language caption is conditioned on the input sentence and the selected meme template.

The model learns the dependencies between the meme captions and the meme template images and generates new memes using the learned dependencies. The quality of the generated captions and the generated memes is evaluated through both automated metrics and human evaluation. An experiment is designed to score how well the generated memes can represent popular tweets from Twitter conversations. Experiments on Twitter data show the efficacy of the model in generating memes capable of representing a sentence in online social interaction.

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Date Created
2020

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Three Facets of Online Political Networks: Communities, Antagonisms, and Polarization

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Millions of users leave digital traces of their political engagements on social media platforms every day. Users form networks of interactions, produce textual content, like and share each others' content. This creates an invaluable opportunity to better understand the political

Millions of users leave digital traces of their political engagements on social media platforms every day. Users form networks of interactions, produce textual content, like and share each others' content. This creates an invaluable opportunity to better understand the political engagements of internet users. In this proposal, I present three algorithmic solutions to three facets of online political networks; namely, detection of communities, antagonisms and the impact of certain types of accounts on political polarization. First, I develop a multi-view community detection algorithm to find politically pure communities. I find that word usage among other content types (i.e. hashtags, URLs) complement user interactions the best in accurately detecting communities.

Second, I focus on detecting negative linkages between politically motivated social media users. Major social media platforms do not facilitate their users with built-in negative interaction options. However, many political network analysis tasks rely on not only positive but also negative linkages. Here, I present the SocLSFact framework to detect negative linkages among social media users. It utilizes three pieces of information; sentiment cues of textual interactions, positive interactions, and socially balanced triads. I evaluate the contribution of each three aspects in negative link detection performance on multiple tasks.

Third, I propose an experimental setup that quantifies the polarization impact of automated accounts on Twitter retweet networks. I focus on a dataset of tragic Parkland shooting event and its aftermath. I show that when automated accounts are removed from the retweet network the network polarization decrease significantly, while a same number of accounts to the automated accounts are removed randomly the difference is not significant. I also find that prominent predictors of engagement of automatically generated content is not very different than what previous studies point out in general engaging content on social media. Last but not least, I identify accounts which self-disclose their automated nature in their profile by using expressions such as bot, chat-bot, or robot. I find that human engagement to self-disclosing accounts compared to non-disclosing automated accounts is much smaller. This observational finding can motivate further efforts into automated account detection research to prevent their unintended impact.

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2019