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Volume 15 / Issue 10

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DOI:   10.3217/jucs-015-10-2078

 

An Agent for Web-based Structured Hypermedia Algorithm Explanation System

Elhadi M. Shakshuki (Acadia University, Canada)

Richard Halliday (Acadia University, Canada)

Abstract: Studying and understanding algorithms is important for all computer scientists. Over two decades of research has been devoted to improving algorithm visualization and algorithm explanation techniques. Knowledge gained from these practices allows us to design and implement logically correct programs with considerations to runtime and memory constraints. For many students, learning algorithms in a traditional manner (i.e. using text-books) is challenging. We have developed an alternative approach to teaching algorithms called the Structured Hypermedia Algorithm Explanation (SHALEX) system, which uses hypermedia and represents algorithms as an abstract tree structure. Although SHALEX is a fully functioning teaching tool, currently it does not provide a way of receiving feedback on studentÂ’s progress. To address this problem, this paper extends SHALEX with intelligent agent to monitor student progress, to provide the student with hints where necessary and to record the results of student interaction, all of which provide a means of quantifying the level of understanding the student has achieved. The system is implemented as a web-based application using the client-server architecture. This allows students to learn algorithms through both distance education and in the classroom setting.

Keywords: HCI, agents, algorithm Explanation, hypermedia, trees, visualization

Categories: H.5.1, H.5.2, H.5.4, I.2.4