In Spring 2021, I taught a really weird Algorithms course, with the help of a megalomaniac Intelligent Tutoring System. I was chased, punched, and duct taped to a chair. But I think my students learned a little bit about Big Oh notation, so it’s kind of a mixed bag. Want to hear more? Keep reading, or meet me at SIGCSE’22!
During the Spring of the 2021 semester, stuck in quarantine due to the ongoing global pandemic, I decided I needed to do something completely different with my undergraduate-level Algorithms course. Tired of teaching via Zoom to little boxes, I decided to recreate the entire course, inspired by my love of Escape Rooms and Alternate Reality Games. Connecting together Canvas, Ohyay, and GradeScope with my own custom technology, I weaved an asynchronous, video-based narrative whereby students would inevitably have to save me from my own Frankenstein’s monster: an evil Intelligent Tutoring System named “AlgoTutorBot” who threatens not only the course, but the entire world!
The final course incorporates a range of interesting assignments that are available to external adopters. This includes not only programming problems and conventional algorithmic logic problems, but also a novel web application for experimenting with runtime analysis, an interactive point-and-click adventure for practicing graph algorithms, and a pedagogical methodology for concretizing students’ problem solving process into tangible artifacts. There are also a number of smaller assignments that would be easily adopted into a regular Algorithms course. All resources and a walkthrough video of the experience are available at https://acbart.github.io/algotutorbot/
This website shows off the final version of the course, and also describes some of the lessons I learned along the way. The curriculum was a tremendous amount of effort, and would not be easily reproduced. However, the experience was very rewarding and earned me my highest course evaluations ever - virtually perfect scores.
The following video is a sort-of “Documentary” about what I did in the course, and shows some highlights from the semester.
The following contains all the videos used in the course, including several that are meant to be secret. If you don’t want spoilers, then you shouldn’t watch. But if you want to see how it all turns out, watch below! It’s 3 hours, 25 minutes total.
Thanks for checking out all my materials! I have chosen not to upload some of them, to prevent them from being abused by students searching for answers. This mostly includes instructor unit tests and grading scripts, answer keys, and reference answers. If you are an instructor interested in these materials, please feel free to fill out this google form: https://forms.gle/dU6U17Uy4QZ3KR577
If you would like to contact Dr. Bart directly, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org