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A Study of Online Assessment Tools to Practice Programming and Their Effect on Students Grades

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2018 ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Spring Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

April 6, 2018

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April 6, 2018

End Date

April 7, 2018

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Jose M Reyes Alamo CUNY - New York City College of Technology

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José M. Reyes Álamo did his undergraduate studies in Computer Science at the University of Puerto Rico at Bayamón. After graduation he worked in the industry but his strong passion for education and research brought him back to school a year later. He went to Iowa State University (ISU) to pursue his Ph.D. in Computer Science. During his time at ISU he worked in the Smart Home Lab researching topics in Software Engineering, Smart Homes, Pervasive Computing, Formal Methods, and Wireless Sensors. He published several papers and completed his dissertation entitled "A framework for safe composition of heterogeneous SOA services in a pervasive computing environment with resource constraints". In ISU he was also involved in several other activities like organizing the GMAP Symposium, participating in student organizations, and working as research assistant. After graduation he worked for a trading software company in New York City but once again his love for academics brought him back, this time as a professor in Computer Engineering Technology at CUNY - New York City College of Technology.

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“Practice makes perfect” is an old phrase that proves truth in many aspects of the life of a computer engineer. Students in programming courses are reminded constantly by their instructors to practice in order to become better developers. Traditionally, book exercises have been used or assigned to students for practicing programming. However unless these exercises are counted for credit, some students will lack the motivation to do them. On the other hand, assigning too many problems for credit can become a time consuming activity for both students and faculty as well as a grading burden for instructors. It is also known that there are a lot of online resources for practicing programming, but students can get overwhelmed with so many tools. In this work in progress paper we present our preliminary results of how using online assessment tools can help student practice and improve their programming skills. The tools used provide immediate feedback and automatic grading. The hypothesis is that these tools help students to practice more and by giving them immediate feedback and quick grading, they get better at programming and consequently get better test scores. Preliminary data collected shows this to be the case. In this paper we present different scenarios how these tools were used and their effect in the final exam results in different semesters.

Reyes Alamo, J. M. (2018, April), A Study of Online Assessment Tools to Practice Programming and Their Effect on Students Grades Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Spring Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--29452

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