Department of Computer Science: MSc Thesis Presentation
Design of an application to collect data and create animations from Visual Algorithm Simulation exercises
Time: Monday 6 April at 13:00
Location: online at https://aalto.zoom.us/j/232253134
Giacomo Mariani will present his Master’s Thesis in Computer Science titled “Design of an application to collect data and create animations from Visual Algorithm Simulation exercises”. The application is designed to collect data from the interaction of a user with a Visual Algorithm Simulation exercise. The data is then used to recreate the steps of the submitted solution as an animation. Due to its well structured format, the data can also be easily utilized for research purposes.
Visual Algorithm Simulation (VAS) exercises are commonly used in Computer Science education to help learners understand the logic behind the abstractions used in programming. These exercises also present problems common in the daily work of Computer Science graduates. Aalto University uses the JSAV library to create VAS exercises and evaluate the solution submitted by students. The evaluation process counts the amount of correct steps given by the user during the exercise. However, because more detailed data is not collected, teachers currently can not recreate and analyse the submitted solutions more in depth.
This thesis presents the design, development and evaluation of an application prototype, which can be easily integrated in existing VAS exercises created with the JSAV library. The prototype is called the Player Application, and it is designed as a service that can be easily integrated into other systems while still remaining independent. The Player Application consists of two main independent components: the Exercise Recorder and the Exercise Player. A third important element is the new JSON-based Algorithm Animation Language, which is designed to describe, structure and store the data collected from the VAS exercises.
The prototype was successfully tested in an online environment by importing the Exercise Recorder into existing exercises and replaying the submitted solutions in the Exercise Player. The tests showed that its design and architecture were valid. Next, the aim is to create a mature application, which can be used at Aalto University and other institutions, but the prototype still needs further development to support more VAS exercise types.