Category: education

New publication on students learning behavior

Our paper titled ”Exploring students learning behavior with an interactive eTextbook in Computer Science Courses” has been accepted for publication in Computers in Human Behavior journal.


We present empirical findings from using an interactive electronic textbook (eTextbook)
system named OpenDSA to teach sophomore- and junior-level Computer Science (CS) courses. The web-based eTextbook infrastructure allows us to collect large amounts of data that can provide detailed information about students’ study behavior. In particular we were interested in seeing if the students will attempt to manipulate the electronic resources so as to receive credit without deeply going through the materials. We found that a majority of students do not read the text. On the other hand, we found evidence that students voluntarily complete additional exercises (after obtaining credit for completion) as a study aid prior to exams. We determined that visualization use was fairly high (even when credit for their completion was not offered). Skipping to the end of slideshows was more common when credit for their completion was offered, but also occurred when it was not. We measured the level of use of mobile devices for learning by CS students. Almost all students did not associate their mobile devices with studying. The only time they accessed OpenDSA from a mobile device was for a quick look up,and never for in depth study.

Article Manuscript.

Digital Libraries Applications in Education

The Digital Library Research Laboratory (DLRL) at Virginia Tech recently published the fourth and last of a series of books on Digital Libraries and the 5S (Societies, Scenarios, Spaces, Structures, Streams) approach.  Drs Edward Fox and Jonathan Leidig edited the book and Morgan & Claypool published it. The fourth book focused on digital libraries applications, and can be found here.  I co-authored the chapter on digital libraries applications in education with Yinlin Chen.

Digital libraries for educational resources  present many challenges including the participation and collaboration of community members. Monika Akbar et al addressed the problem by proposing DL 2.0, a model to integrate social knowledge to digital library content. But as educators move more  toward mixing and matching educational content to create compound learning objects, we need to create a whole new family of digital libraries services to interact with such resources. In the case of OpenDSA, visualizations and interactive exercises can be indexed as stand-alone resources in AlgoViz. But tutorials are created on demand and embed standalone visualizations and exercises. We should  index tutorials as well, and make them available to portals educational digital libraries. Which begs the question should we index raw source file or html output?

OpenDSA’s architecture paper accepted for publication

Our paper describing the OpenDSA system architecture, and the design goals that lead to the present version of the system will be published in the  Science of Computer Programming journal special issue on “software development concerns in the e-Learning domain”.


Overview of the OpenDSA architecture.

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