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OLYMPIADS IN INFORMATICS, 2012, Vol. 6, 31-43
© Institute of Mathematics and Informatics,

ISSN 1822-7732

Teaching Programming and Algorithm Design with Pythia, a Web-Based Learning Platform

Sébastien COMBÉFIS, Vianney le CLÉMENT de SAINT-MARCQ

Department of Computer Science Engineering, Université catholique de Louvain Place Sainte Barbe 2, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium E-mail: {sebastien.combefis, vianney.leclement}@uclouvain.be

Abstract

In Belgium, there are no or very few programming and algorithm design courses at secondary schools (12-18 years old). Students who can program are self-learners. The selection process for the Belgian delegation for the IOI, that has been set up two years ago, takes this situation into account. More initiatives should be taken to introduce computer science in secondary schools. This paper presents Pythia, a solution grader for programming and algorithm design problems based on a web application. Following the learning by doing motto, the proposed framework provides an accessible, usable, effective way to learn programming. To compensate for the lack of teachers with programming or algorithm design skills, Pythia delivers direct feedback to the students. The paper describes the design of the courses and the architecture of the tool. As future work, the proposed teaching technique has yet to be tested at large and evaluated.

Keywords:

solution grader, teaching, programming, algorithm design, learning platform, online course


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