Charlotte, North Carolina
June 20, 1999
June 20, 1999
June 23, 1999
4.47.1 - 4.47.12
A Web-Based Computer Architecture Course Database Edward F. Gehringer North Carolina State University firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract
A Web-based database of course materials in computer architecture is being developed. Its goal is to allow instructors at different institutions to share independently developed materials, and to collaborate in developing new materials. This database comprises problems downloaded from the Web sites of courses in computer architecture at universities around the world. The site is searchable by classification or fulltext string for problems on particular topics in computer architecture. The database currently contains homework and test questions. It is planned also to include lecture notes, laboratory exercises, and multimedia teaching materials developed at a number of universities. Materials are gathered for the database by obtaining instructors’ permission to include materials from their course Web sites. Scripts have been developed to fetch their material over the Web, separate homework assignments and tests into individual problems, and store them in the database.
This project has been developed in conjunction with the WebAssign project for on-line homework submission and grading. Where the format permits, homework and test problems can be automatically graded. At this writing, the database contains 500 problems. Although this prototype is specific to the field of computer architecture, the software for building the database is usable for constructing databases in almost any academic field.
The World-Wide Web owes its existence to the Internet, whose original constituents were mainly universities. So it is only natural that the Web should abound with educational materials. As universities scramble to put courses on line, they are in effect creating a large distributed database of course materials, organized in an ad hoc manner, with varying degrees of incompleteness. These materials can potentially be shared to provide an educational experience far richer than any instructor could fashion alone. The challenge is to organize them so that other instructors can locate, pick, and choose the materials most appropriate for their situation.
Though course material is on the Web, it is not easy to find. Consider how one would look for lectures in a particular academic field, say, general chemistry. Searching for a keyword like "valence" might retrieve some lectures, but they would also retrieve research papers, lectures from more specialized courses, pages from the Valence Software company, and pages about the French city of the same name. Following hyperlinks through university sites would not be much better, because most lectures are not on line, or, if they are, they are likely to be removed
Gehringer, E. (1999, June), A Web Based Computer Architecture Course Database Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina. https://peer.asee.org/8053
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