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

    What Is "Graduated Complexity"?
    CodeLab is organized into sequences of three to ten exercises, where each sequence pertains to a particular topic (e.g. array access, function invocation). Within each sequence the level and sophistication of the exercises increase gradually but steadily. For example, in the case of array access, a CodeLab would have exercises that ask the student to:
    • Access the first element in the array.
    • Access the third element in the array.
    • Access the last element in an array of 100 elements.
    • Access the middle element of an array of 7 elements.
    • Access the last element in an array where an int variable n contains the number of elements.
    • Given an int variable k, access the element whose index is given by k.
    • Given an int variable k, access the element after the one whose index is given by k.
    • Given an int variable k, access the element before the one whose index is given by k.
    • Given an int variable k, access the element two elements after the one whose index is given by k.
    • Access the middle element in an array where an int variable n contains the number of elements.
    • Access the element that follows the middle element in an array where an int variable n contains the number of elements.

    Thus, the student starts the section accessing arrays with integer constants, and finishes the section using integer expressions while gaining experience in treating the array elements themselves as members of an ordered sequence.

    Benefits
    This arrangement, of graduated complexity, minimizes the chance of a student getting stuck. Objectively, completing the first N exercises gives the student an exquisite preparation for exercise N+1. Subjectively, having obtained confirmation of his or her mastery of the first N, the student can tackle exercise N+1 with more confidence. This makes CodeLab ideal for settings where no faculty, TA, or tutor is available.

    Additionally, by providing a multitude of exercises on a given topic, the student gets the opportunity to practice the construct or concept in a variety of ways, helping him or her to deepen their understanding.

    300+ Exercises: So Many?
    300+ might sound like a large number of exercises. In one semester a professor certainly cannot give 300+ programming projects or 300+ exercises from the end of the textbook chapter. However, 300+ CodeLab exercises are quite manageable over the course of a semester because of the nature of the exercises. They are generally short and the immediate feedback means the student can submit an answer with errors, have those errors pointed out in a couple of seconds and re-submit a correct answer. The next exercise will be very much like the one they have just completed but with a slightly more sophisticated twist.

    Statistics
    Each submission is captured and logged by the CodeLab engine. This enables Turing's Craft to keep track of general statistics regarding the rate of submissions. The average number of submissions needed to complete an exercise is about 1.5. Why so low? In large part because of graduated complexity: most exercises are just more complex versions of the previous one. And thanks to the automatic feedback and hints, 90% of the exercises are completed correctly in 3 or less submissions.
    What our instructors say
    "Code Lab has indeed proven to be invaluable in giving students additional hands-on experience and hence a better understanding of programming. The students have also given it favorable reviews. I will certainly be recommending it for next semester's introductory programming class." Glenn Jones, Professor, Medgar Evers College (more)

    What our students say
    "I just wanted you know I've gone past the limit I needed to do for class, so I am through now. I'd like to thank you so much for all of your help. I learned more than I thought I would from this." Brian Yates, Student Kansas State University. (more)

    What our students say
    "I really liked how there was immediate feedback. This allowed me to go through my notes and see what exactly I was doing wrong." Student, University of Maryland. (more)

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