Snaps: A Tool for Understanding Students in Large Computer Science Classes

Itai Smith

EECS Department
University of California, Berkeley
Technical Report No. UCB/EECS-2021-118
May 14, 2021

http://www2.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2021/EECS-2021-118.pdf

As computer science courses continue to grow in size, instructors inevitably rely more on automatic assignment grading and asynchronous modes of instruction, reducing the amount of direct interaction with students. As a result, instructors’ have limited ability to effectively temperature check their students, identify students who are falling behind in a timely manner, and make informed decisions about the effectiveness of assignments.

In this paper, we present Snaps, a tool for collecting intermediate snapshots of student work on program- ming assignments, for any IntelliJ based IDE. We also present how we used the snapshots collected by this tool in UC Berkeley’s CS 2 course to identify struggling students, assess the workload administered to students, and evaluate the effectiveness of course design choices.

Advisor: Joshua Hug


BibTeX citation:

@mastersthesis{Smith:EECS-2021-118,
    Author = {Smith, Itai},
    Title = {Snaps: A Tool for Understanding Students in Large Computer Science Classes},
    School = {EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley},
    Year = {2021},
    Month = {May},
    URL = {http://www2.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2021/EECS-2021-118.html},
    Number = {UCB/EECS-2021-118},
    Abstract = {As computer science courses continue to grow in size, instructors inevitably rely more on automatic assignment grading and asynchronous modes of instruction, reducing the amount of direct interaction with students. As a result, instructors’ have limited ability to effectively temperature check their students, identify students who are falling behind in a timely manner, and make informed decisions about the effectiveness of assignments.

In this paper, we present Snaps, a tool for collecting intermediate snapshots of student work on program- ming assignments, for any IntelliJ based IDE. We also present how we used the snapshots collected by this tool in UC Berkeley’s CS 2 course to identify struggling students, assess the workload administered to students, and evaluate the effectiveness of course design choices.}
}

EndNote citation:

%0 Thesis
%A Smith, Itai
%T Snaps: A Tool for Understanding Students in Large Computer Science Classes
%I EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley
%D 2021
%8 May 14
%@ UCB/EECS-2021-118
%U http://www2.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2021/EECS-2021-118.html
%F Smith:EECS-2021-118