WOODBURY, RATCLIFFE and THOMAS, 2001. Building and Deploying an Extensible CAA System: from theory to practice. IN: Proceedings of the 5th CAA Conference, Loughborough: Loughborough University
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
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.