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CodeLab
  • The Exercises
  • Graduated Complexity
  • Teaching Strategies
  • Installation
  • FAQ
  • Teaching Strategies

    Requiring vs. Recommending
    For CodeLab to have a broad impact on your class, the vast majority of students need to be actively working on the exercises on a regular basis. Our instructors' experiences have shown that this is not possible unless completion of CodeLab exercises is required by the instructor and counts for a percentage of the student's final grade.

    When instructors just recommend CodeLab, only a few students use it at the beginning, then a few more after the mid-term and maybe several before the final exam. The students who could have benefited the most will not use it, or will use it too late in the term.

    On the other hand, those instructors who have required it for a grade have reported that there are less students dropping out, better performance on tests and projects and fewer questions during class about "basics".

    Percentage of Grade
    CodeLab works best when required as 5-10% of a student's grade. Under 5% does not provide enough motivation for the student to complete the exercises while 10% -- the equivalent of a letter grade -- is usually a sufficiently strong incentive. Our instructors who have required CodeLab for over 5% of the grade, have reported that the large majority of their students complete the assigned exercises and feel their learning has benefited from use of the system.

    Deadlines
    CodeLab exercises provide the greatest value if the student works on them right after the pertinent concepts or programming language constructs have been introduced in class. To encourage this, faculty should use the CodeLab course management facility to assign appropriate deadlines for specific groups of exercises.

    Plagiarism
    CodeLab does not include any guards against plagiarism because we feel that we don't have to. We are not naive to the tendencies of students to take the easy way out, it's just that, CodeLab has been designed in such a way that it's not punitive but supportive. In our experience students recognize this and see that they can get the answer themselves quicker by working with the system than by copying from a classmate.
    What our students say
    "Being a student who is entirely unfamiliar with Java and actually ALL forms of computer programming, it really does help me learn the language by putting it to use. I truly feel it has assisted me a great deal." Lindsay Fowler, Student, University of Oklahoma . (more)

    What our students say
    "It is a good tool for review because instant feedback is given on how to do the problems." Brad H., University of Maryland. (more)

    What our students say
    "I really enjoyed the way we were able to actually practice the techniques online." Jon L, University of Maryland. (more)

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