Collaborative Research: A Trial-and-Failure Project Tutoring System
NSF #: CCLI-0836859, Amount: : $42,998, Period: : 03/15/2009 to 02/28/2011,
Lead Pincipal Investigator: Dr. Xiang Fu
Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Boris Peltsverger
Collaborative Grants: CCLI-0837275 ($52,000), CCLI-0837020 ($55,009)
This project involves the construction of an interactive project tutoring tool, APOGEE, and a collection of companion laboratory modules. APOGEE adopts a trial-and-failure teaching strategy. Students can submit projects multiple times to APOGEE before a deadline. Each temporary submission is graded instantly, with each project requirement evaluated fairly and consistently by APOGEE. Any failure scenario is displayed to students interactively online, step by step. Students learn from failures, refine project design, and resubmit. The cyclic improvement model can greatly enrich students' learning experience without burdening faculty in grading.
The project consists of four parts: (1) expansion of the APOGEE tool based on a prototype system that has been completed, (2) development of companion lab modules (including formal project specification and testing scripts) for two popular Web platforms JavaEE and ASP.Net, (3) experimental adoption and evaluation of APOGEE and lab modules within a learning community, and (4) integration of APOGEE with online course management tools such as Sakai and WebCT.
Intellectual merits: (1) APOGEE encourages life-long learning. The trial-and-failure model allows students to actively sharpen their skills. (2) APOGEE promotes self-monitoring and reflection. Students can challenge each other by authoring their own project evaluation scripts. (3) APOGEE increases faculty productivity by providing automated project grading and tutoring. (4) APOGEE is platform independent. (5) APOGEE extends the application of automated Graphic User Interface testing techniques, going beyond many automated grading tools in CS1/2 that only deal with text-mode input and output.
Broader impacts: (1) A learning community has been built, ranging from regional research universities to 4-year colleges, spanning five states. Eleven universities are adopting APOGEE in their Web programming courses. (2) Two popular textbooks in the area are used to disseminate the results. APOGEE and corresponding lab modules are included as their companion materials. (3) All tools and course materials are licensed using the GNU public license. They are made available on a public web site, with connections to the National Science Digital Library.
NSF 0829641, Collaborative Research: CPATH TI: Project EXCE2L (Excellence in Computer Education with Entrepreneurship and Leadership Skills). $289,906, 09/01/2008-08/31/2011, CO-PI.
NASA Grant NNK06EA03H, Success for Minority Students in Computing Demonstration Projects. $99,000, 2006, CO-PI.