Category: opendsa

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.

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.

Embed OpenDSA’s visualizations and exercises in your tutorials

Dozens of algorithm visualization (AV) and interactive exercises have been


created as part of the OpenDSA project. To make it easier for educators to use and reuse OpenDSA’s  AVs and exercises, we have implemented an oEmbed endpoint. Our endpoint returns XML and JSON responses. With JSON being the default response format.

The OpenDSA oEmbed endpoint URL is AVs are located at and exercises at For details on how to use an oEmbed endpoint, please read Ville Karavirta‘s excellent blog post. The link Below is an example of oEmbed request for Depth First Search visualization (XML format).

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