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INFORMATICS IN EDUCATION, 2004, Vol. 3, No. 2, 267-288
© Institute of Mathematics and Informatics,

ISSN 0868-4952

Visual Algorithm Simulation Exercise System with Automatic Assessment: TRAKLA2

Lauri MALMI, Ville KARAVIRTA, Ari KORHONEN, Jussi NIKANDER, Otto SEPPÄLÄ, Panu SILVASTI

Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Helsinki University of Technology P.O.Box 5400, 02015 HUT, Finland E-mail: {lma,vkaravir,archie,jtn,oseppala,psilvast}@cs.hut.fi

Abstract

Interaction and feedback are key factors supporting the learning process. Therefore many automatic assessment and feedback systems have been developed for computer science courses during the past decade. In this paper we present a new framework, TRAKLA2, for building interactive algorithm simulation exercises. Exercises constructed in TRAKLA2 are viewed as learning objects in which students manipulate conceptual visualizations of data structures in order to simulate the working of given algorithms. The framework supports randomized input values for the assignments, as well as automatic feedback and grading of students' simulation sequences. Moreover, it supports automatic generation of model solutions as algorithm animations and the logging of statistical data about the interaction process resulting as students solve exercises. The system has been used in two universities in Finland for several courses involving over 1000 students. Student response has been very positive.

Keywords:

algorithms, data structures, algorithm animation, algorithm simulation, automatic assessment, computer science education


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