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Computer Science Colloquia

Thursday, May 5, 2011
William Burns
Advisor: Alf Weaver
Attending Faculty: Aaron Bloomfield

Olsson Hall, Room 236D, 10:00:00

A Master's Project Presentation
The e-Commerce Sandbox: an Interactive Learning Tool with Real-Time Feedback

ABSTRACT
The e-Commerce Sandbox is an interactive learning tool developed to supplement a course on the technology and business aspects of e-commerce (CS 4753).  The sandbox is spatio-temporally independent, allowing students to complete modules outside of the classroom on their own schedules. The system currently provides 22 modules covering topics in PHP, MySql, Cookies, and Sessions. The administrative interface provides tools to create arbitrary modules so that the sandbox can expand and evolve with the state of the art and the state of the practice.  Essential to the success of the sandbox are the real-time feedback system and the logging system. In addition to evaluating submissions for correctness, the real-time feedback system can guide students toward the correct solution, alleviating the workload on the course staff. This is achieved by providing hints based on static analysis of student code submissions.  The logging system handles grading automatically, but also provides feedback to improve the sandbox.   Preliminary results indicate that the sandbox is a beneficial adjunct to the  e-commerce course, generating a net improvement in student knowledge.