Virtual Teaching Assistant to Support Students' Efforts in Programming

dc.contributor.authorManniam Rajagopal, Mukund Babuen
dc.contributor.committeechairEdwards, Stephen H.en
dc.contributor.committeememberMcCrickard, D. Scotten
dc.contributor.committeememberServant Cortes, Francisco Javieren
dc.contributor.departmentComputer Scienceen
dc.date.accessioned2018-08-15T08:01:48Zen
dc.date.available2018-08-15T08:01:48Zen
dc.date.issued2018-08-14en
dc.description.abstractNovice programmers often find learning programming difficult. They suffer from various misconceptions and difficulties in understanding the subject. The overall experience with programming can be negative for many students. They may feel isolated in the programming environment and think that programming is difficult for them. Many schools use automated grading tools to process student work and provide them with early feedback. Web-CAT, an open-source software system that is widely used by many universities, is an example of such an automated grading tool. We have developed a Virtual Teaching Assistant for Web-CAT, called Maria, who can support the students to help alleviate some of the negative emotions towards programming. We have used an animated pedagogical agent as the virtual assistant as certain characteristics of the agent can help with the students' perception about the virtual teaching assistant. Often, students have a fixed mindset about programming. But it is easy to master programming with practice. To promote a growth mindset, Maria also provides feedback recognizing the effort of the student in addition to the performance-oriented feedback of the students' programs. Maria can also provide motivating or encouraging comments to continue working on the assignment to get a good score. Maria can also provide information about the various errors displayed in student feedback.en
dc.description.abstractgeneralBeginners often find learning computer programming difficult. They may suffer from various misconceptions and difficulties in understanding the subject. Also, there can be a negative experience surrounding programming for many students. They may feel isolated in the programming environment and think that programming is difficult for them. Many schools use automated software tools to grade student programs and provide them with early feedback. Web-CAT, a software system that is widely used by many universities, is an example of such an automated grading tool. We have developed a Virtual Teaching Assistant to reside within Web-CAT, called Maria, who can support the students to help alleviate some of the negative emotions towards programming. We have used an animated human-like character, known as pedagogical agent, for Maria as it is widely use in pedagogy to help students. Often, students think programming is an innate skill and it is difficult to acquire. But it is easy to master programming with practice. To encourage students to continue working, Maria also provides feedback recognizing the effort that the student has put in towards completing the programming assignment or project. In certain cases, Maria can also provide motivating or encouraging comments to the students to help them continue working on the assignment. Maria can also provide explanation about the various programming errors that students encounter during their submission to Web-CAT.en
dc.description.degreeMaster of Scienceen
dc.format.mediumETDen
dc.identifier.othervt_gsexam:16622en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10919/84550en
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.rights.urihttp://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/en
dc.subjectPedagogical Agentsen
dc.subjectVirtual Teaching Assistanten
dc.subjectComputer Science Educationen
dc.titleVirtual Teaching Assistant to Support Students' Efforts in Programmingen
dc.typeThesisen
thesis.degree.disciplineComputer Science and Applicationsen
thesis.degree.grantorVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen
thesis.degree.levelmastersen
thesis.degree.nameMaster of Scienceen
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