Building and Deploying an Extensible CAA System: from theory to practice
conference contributionposted on 24.05.2006, 13:48 by John Woodbury, Mark Ratcliffe, Lynda Thomas
Over a two-year period we have devised and deployed over 2000 objective tests both as summative and formative tests in a range of Computer Science modules as well as diagnostic tests via the Web. From modest beginnings with an introductory module on programming for first year students we extended the service to other staff and modules including a Master’s level module on programming, an introductory module to the PC and a module on computer hardware. We recorded our experience supplying support to staff and students through a variety of documents and procedures, including addressing the practical and security issues of deploying CAA via the Web. This information is available via the Web to staff and students. Feedback was elicited from the students after each test and this information is recorded in a database available on the Web. We have been developing an extensible and modular system called MAPView (Monitoring, Access and Provision) using the development method we teach our students and written in our teaching language Java. We have used our students to develop various aspects of this system as part of their academic work and we use it as a “near experience” example in our modules on software engineering, project management and object-oriented design. Our system is centered on the lecturer’s learning objectives for a course of study. Questions and tests are constructed with explicit reference to these learning objectives. Topical feedback is provided to the students via emails automatically generated from test results, using this as a tool to revisit individual student problems. We have sought to prove that our method of system development is flexible and responsive to the individual and changing requirements of teachers.
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