Field Reports tell how instructors have used AVs in their teaching.

Tutorial for priority queues and binary heap

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ville
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Instructor(s): 
Archie Korhonen
Instructor(s): 
Jouni Järvinen
Location: 
Helsinki University of Technology (HUT) and University of Turku (UTU)
Course: 
T-106.1220 Data Structures and Algorithms T (HUT)
Course: 
TKO_5509 Data Structures and Algorithms (UTU)
Term / Date: 
several terms during the years 2006-2009
AVs used: 

A tutorial on priority queues and binary heap was used on two different courses, one at Helsinki University of Technology and one at the University of Turku. The tutorial includes several visualizations using the TRAKLA2 visualization system. The hypothesis for the experimental setup was that students using visualizations collaboratively (i.e. in pairs) on engagement level changing (treatment group) perform better compared to students using only visualization on engagement level viewing (control group). In the experiment, the participants (mostly first year students) were randomly divided into two groups. One of the groups worked with TRAKLA2 exercises where they needed to simulate the working of the algorithms, and thus was on changing level. The other group step through algorithm animations of the same algorithms, thus they interacted with the visualizations on viewing level. Pre- and post-tests were used to analyze the performance. Each student answered these tests individually. The students' activities during the controlled experimental study were also recorded utilizing a screen capturing software. The results encourage developing systems that support different modes of engagement. The mere viewing of the algorithm animations is not sufficient, not even when working in pairs. Thus, there is a need for systems that act on the higher levels of the engagement taxonomy. For example, visual algorithm simulation exercises acting on the changing level produce better results compared to the viewing level. For more information about the experiment setup and results, see "Comparing Learning Performance of Students Using Algorithm Visualizations Collaboratively on Different Engagement Levels": Mikko-Jussi Laakso, Niko Myller, and Ari Korhonen (2009) Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 12 (2), pp. 267-282.

shaffer
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Re: Tutorial for priority queues and binary heap
Can you briefly give us the gist of the results? As in, what sort of performance numbers you got for the control group (viewing only) and the change group? Also, I am not sure that I quite understand what the change group actually did. Thanks!
archie
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Re: Tutorial for priority queues and binary heap

We have conducted several studies. The one mentioned in the first posting is a kind of converging study that finally managed to show that the level of engagement really matters. In the previous studies, the results were almost significant (p > 0.05), but the conclusive proof was missing until we realized that not all students in the treatment group actually were behaving in this changing level (but did just the same as the control group students).

 

In these studies

 

  • Viewing group = control group of students that read the tutorial, but only saw algorithm animations (step through animation), whils
  • Changing group = treatment group that also had the opportunity to solve algorithm simulation exercises (i.e., they needed to predict the next step in the algorithm by drag & dropping keys in the data structures according to the algorithm).

 

One of the latest studies revealed more of this phenomena. It seems that higher engagement levels increase the collaboration among students, which has proven to assist learning (the more collaboration between a pair of students the better learning results).

 

See this for more details:

 

 

shaffer
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Re: Tutorial for priority queues and binary heap

Thank you! I have added both papers cited to the bibliography.

prerna174
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Re: Tutorial for priority queues and binary heap
sir,i am not able to see the animations on binary heaps.can you please help me out.
shaffer
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Re: Tutorial for priority queues and binary heap

Prerna174 — I am not sure what you are referring to. Where specifically did you look? I just went through the tutorial at their website (http://svg.cs.hut.fi/heaptutorial/). When I got to the page on "insert" there was a java applet (I believe that is the first one). If you don't see the applet on that page, then you might have something wrong with your browser such as no Java installed or an older version of Java. I'm just guessing here.