LeTech blog launched!

Welcome to the blog of the Learning + Technology research group!

We have launched this blog to have an informal environment for presenting some outcomes of our research as well as to comment on recent trends and activities within computing education, educational technology, and software visualization.

Who are we? LeTech formed around year 2000 in Helsinki University of Technology under the name COMPSER (Computer Science Education Research group). We initially focused mainly on building software to support programming education, and evaluating it on real large-class courses. Some years later a smaller Software Visualization Group, SVG, was established that focused on the technical aspects of algorithm animation, program visualization and automatic assessment tools, whereas COMPSER evolved to  emphasize building an understanding of how students learn programming and how they use the various software tools we had developed. Two years ago we merged the groups under the name Learning + Technology. The new name emphasizes our growing interest in educational technology and student learning in general, instead of just computer science and programming education (though they will continue to be core topics for us).

Currently the group includes myself, Ari “Archie” Korhonen (who is chairing the group while I am on my sabbatical until May 2013), Tapio Auvinen, Lasse Hakulinen, Juha Helminen, Petri Ihantola, Ville Karavirta, Jan Lönnberg, Aura Paloheimo, Otto Seppälä, Teemu Sirkiä, Juha Sorva, Ari Sundholm and Ahmad Taherkhani.

This has been a great year for dissertations. Petri defended his thesis Automated Assessment of Programming Assignments: Visual Feedback, Assignment Mobility, and Assessment of Students’ Testing Skills”in December. Jan continued in March: Understanding and Debugging Concurrent Programs through Visualisation, followed by Juha Sorva in May: Visual Program Simulation in Introductory Programming Education. Otto’s turn was in August with the title Advances in Assessment of Programming Skills. Ahmad has just submitted his work: Automatic Algorithm Recognition Based on Programming Schemas and Beacons, and our former member Jussi Nikander will have his defense late this year: Interaction and Visualization Methods in Teaching Spatial Data Algorithms and Analyzing Spatial Data. If you are interested, click the titles and have a look at some work we have done recently!

Lauri Malmi, group leader