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CTAT Software: Tutor Examples: Java Tutor from Summer School 2004

Java Tutor from Summer School 2004

Tutor Definition: This tutor was created by Brian Gane and Marie-Helene Ng Cheong Vee in the 2004 Summer School with the aim of teaching how loops are created and used in Java.

Interface example from the tutor

History: Each year for the past several years, Carnegie Mellon has hosted a summer school to teach interested applicants how to use CTAT to build pseudo-cognitive tutors and cognitive tutors. Marie-Helene and Brian attended the 2004 summer school; within a week, they had acquired the skills necessary to build this pseudo-tutor.

How the interface was built and how the CTAT tools were used to build the tutor: The interface was built in the NetBeans IDE by adding Java Interface Widgets to the interface template. The Behavior Recorder was used during the initial construction of the tutor. However, this Behavior Recorder solution was later replaced with production rules, implemented in JESS, in order to allow the tutor to handle a more general class of loop control problems.

What distinctive features this tutor has that not all tutors have: Normally, an interface has a static text field containing the question and various Java Interface Widgets to allow the student to answer. The Java Tutor is unique because the authors created the interface so the tutor can be generic for a class of problems involving the creation and use of loops. More specifically, the text boxes in the problem formulation at the top of the screen can show different values depending on the problem set. (e.g. 20, even, increasing and 0 could be replaced by 40, odd, decreasing and 40, etc.)

How interface utilizes scaffolding (make easier for learners by make steps explicit for students instead of implicit) & differ from standard textbook notation: Students are able to practice similar problems and consolidate their knowledge.

Scale of delivery: This tutor was created as an exercise in tutor building for our summer school and, to our knowledge, has not been deployed to any learners.

For more information about this project, please contact:

a. Marie-Helene Ng Cheong Vee, School of Computer Science and Information Systems, Birkbeck, University of London. E-mail:, Telephone: +44 20 7631 6550.

b. Brian Gane, School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA.