Evaluating the Integration of Online, Interactive Tutorials into a Data Structures and Algorithms Course

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Virginia Tech

OpenDSA is a collection of open source tutorials for teaching data structures and algorithms. It was created with the goals of visualizing complex, abstract topics; increasing the amount of practice material available to students; and providing immediate feedback and incremental assessment. In this thesis, I first describe aspects of the OpenDSA architecture relevant to collecting user interaction data. I then present an analysis of the interaction log data gathered from three classes during Spring 2013. The analysis focuses on determining the time distribution of student activity, determining the time required for assignment completion, and exploring \credit-seeking" behaviors and behavior related to non-required exercises.

We identified clusters of students based on when they completed exercises, verified the reliability of estimated time requirements for exercises, provided evidence that a majority of students do not read the text, discovered a measurement that could be used to identify exercises that require additional development, and found evidence that students complete exercises after obtaining credit. Furthermore, we determined that slideshow usage was fairly high (even when credit was not ordered), and skipping to the end of slideshows was more common when credit was offered but also occurred when it was not.

OpenDSA, Electronic Textbook, Algorithm Visualization, Automatic Assessment