Global perceptions on the use of WeBWorK as an online tutor for computer science

TitleGlobal perceptions on the use of WeBWorK as an online tutor for computer science
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2008
AuthorsGotel, O, Scharff, C, Wildenberg, A, Bousso, M, Bunthoeurn, C, Des, P, Kulkarni, V, Palakvangsa-Na-Ayudhya, S, Sarr, C, Sunetnanta, T
Conference Name38th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference
Conference LocationSaratoga Springs, NY

Authors' abstract: Numerous (mostly commercial) Web-based systems for the assessment of programming assignments have emerged in the past few years to support the teaching and learning of programming fundamentals. WeBWorK, an initiative led by the University of Rochester to support Mathematics education, is unusual in that it is an open-source and extensible system. Since 2005, collaborators at Pace University and Cornell College have been working to adapt WeBWorK to extend its reach to Computer Science. This paper reports on a global experiment undertaken with Computer Science students and faculty from three continents based on the use of WeBWorK. Students in the US, Cambodia, India, Senegal and Thailand were presented with a set of programming exercises in a controlled environment. The intention was to explore the impact of diverse cultures, distinct first languages and differences in prior everyday exposure to the Internet and use of pedagogical tools on the usability and perceived value of such tools in Computer Science education. The study poses an important question with regard to the global uptake of everyday and typically US-centric educational technology. It provides findings likely to be of value to academic institutions interested in its adoption and companies interested in its commercialization.