This EMD project creates a set of laboratory exercises based upon 20-30 computer science programs written in Java and accompanied by web-based tutorial material to enable students to work on large problems. It addresses the need in computer science education to provide real-world experience and exposure to complexity for students by working with actual exemplary code in a set of large programs across a wide range of application areas. These exercises are being developed and tested to provide students with the opportunity to read, explore, discuss, experiment with and design solutions to problems based upon existing large and robust programs. In addition to the showcase projects, software tools and tutorials are being developed for students to use when working with the programs.
The evaluation plan includes a formative evaluation at Northeastern University, accompanied by testing at multiple sites with diverse student populations such as Pace University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Norfolk State University in Virginia. Faculty enhancement workshops are planned to be held at Northeastern University as well as at national and regional conferences. A textbook, lab manual and an accompanying CD-ROM containing the programs and exercises are under development to provide national dissemination of the materials. The PI's are developing a web-based newsgroup comprised of faculty using the materials.