How to run a teaching practical

Anyone who teaches programming, anywhere in the world: This site could make practicals much easier and more fun both for students and for teachers.

The code has to be in JavaScript. But if you are willing to accept that, there are some special features.

What you get

What you get as a teacher will be the following features:

Pool of practicals
An online, ever-growing pool of teaching practicals ready for you to use. Eventually it is envisaged that there will be a vast pool of practicals on different topics on this site.

3D graphics
Even a simple programming problem can easily be situated inside an attractive 3D graphical World, making the practical engaging for your students.

No admin
Student login is set up for you. No admin work for you. Students organise their own logins. This site, not you, will deal with forgotten passwords etc.

Online submission
Online submission by the students. No email. No paper.

Student code hidden
Student code is hidden from other students, but visible to you.

Automatic marking
Online scoreboard with automatic marking. The teacher runs students' code and the score is automatically filled in.

No risk to your computer
When running student submissions, there is no risk to your computer. There is no install. There is no cleanup afterwards.

Best feature: Edit student code and run again
This is perhaps the best feature. When marking, you can easily clone a student program, edit it, make some changes, and run it again to see what happens. All with no install and no risk to your computer. You can even bug fix student code. Few teachers ever edit a student program and run it again, because it is usually not practical. This system aims to change that, and make it easy and even fun to do.

Use same practical as last year
You can use the same practical as other people. You can use the same practical as last year. The plain text solutions are not visible. Students can see the names of which solutions did well, but this is of no use to them, since they cannot see the plain text code.

How to run a practical

  1. You need a World that uses Minds. You, as the teacher, are the World owner. The World defines some problem. The "students" write Minds to solve the problem.
  2. To be precise, you need a Teaching World version of a World that uses Minds.

  3. Do one of the following:
    1. Browse all Teaching Worlds and clone one of them.
    2. Browse all World with Minds (that are not Teaching Worlds) and clone one of them as a Teaching World.
    3. Create a new Teaching World and write it yourself from scratch.

  4. Whenever you need a new practical, for a new class, just clone again and you will get a new World with a blank scoreboard.
  5. All student Minds are obfuscated. This is done automatically.
  6. As the World owner, you can see the plain text of all student Minds. This is done automatically.

  7. As the World owner, only you can do runs that generate a score on the scoreboard.
  8. You need to watch for attempted fake scores. You can watch what appears on screen and match it to the claimed score. You can study the Mind source code.
  9. If you are suspicious of any Mind score, you can "reset" the score and confront the student.
  10. You might tell the students that any hacking of the score means they fail. Or you might allow them hack the score and reward them for doing so. It is up to you.

  11. When marking, you can clone the Mind. The cloned Mind will be obfuscated, but you own it and can see the plain text.
  12. You can edit the clone, make changes and run. You can even fix bugs in the code and run it again. This lets you give the student a better and more thorough marking.

The background is a program, showing the JavaScript graphics used on this site.

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