Developing an engaging and positive learning environment for learners, especially in a particular course, is one of the most creative aspects of teaching. Learning design supports the design of interventions, which are pedagogically informed, promote student-centered learning activities and make effective use of appropriate resources and technologies. In the context of this work, a framework is proposed for teaching learning design issues in tertiary education which interweaves teacher-centered activities with student-centered activities. The students are engaged in lab activities and in a learning design peer assessment project. Sustainable feedback practices are considered an integral part of the whole process. Findings drawn from an empirical study carried out during two consecutive academic years reveal that the interweaving of instruction and assessment may contribute to the understanding of the main learning design issues and to the cultivation of skills both in the development of educational applications as well as in the design of technology enhanced learning activities.
The management of contemporary software projects is unfeasible without the support of a Project Management (PM) tool. In order to enable the adoption of PM tools in practice, teaching its usage is important as part of computer education. Aiming at teaching PM tools, several approaches have been proposed, such as the development of educational PM tools. However, such approaches are typically limited with respect to content coverage and instructional support. In this context, an important technique is the provision of instructional feedback, which is essential in order to help the students to learn based on the evaluation of their own actions. In order to take advantage of this technique, this article proposes its employment in an Instructional Unit, being integrated into the PM tool dotProject+, providing automated feedback based on the project plan being developed with the tool. This technique has been evaluated through a series of case studies.
Automatic program evaluation is a way to assess source program files. These techniques are used in learning management environments, programming exams and contest systems. However, use of automated program evaluation encounters problems: some evaluations are not clear for the students and the system messages do not show reasons for lost points. The author proposes several ideas for possible improvements in black box testing, which can lead into better service for the users of automatic evaluation systems.
This paper presents results from three interrelated studies focusing on introducing TRAKLA2 to students taking courses on data structures and algorithms at the University of Turku and \rAbo Akademi University in 2004. Using TRAKLA2 they got acquainted with a completely new system for solving exercises that provided them with automatic feedback and the possibility to resubmit their solutions. Besides comparing the students' learning results, a survey was made with 100 students on the changes in their attitudes towards web-based learning environments. In addition, a usability evaluation was conducted in a human-computer interaction laboratory.
Our results show that TRAKLA2 considerably increased the positive attitudes towards web-based learning. According to students' self-evaluations, the best learning results are achieved by combining traditional exercises with web-based ones. In addition, the numerical course statistics were clearly better than in 2003 when only pen-and-paper exercises in class were used. The results from the usability test were also very positive: no severe usability problems were revealed; in fact, the results indicate that the system is very easy to learn and user-friendly as a whole.