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Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Campus Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Computer Science (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Computer Science

Advisor 1

Charles Wallace

Committee Member 1

Linda Ott

Committee Member 2

Adam Feltz

Committee Member 3

Laura E. Brown

Abstract

The subject of discrete structures is at the core of computer science. In contrast to the more concrete practice of programming, material in discrete structures such as relational calculus and predicate logic can seem abstract and intangible. A difficulty in learning and teaching this subject lies in knowing how well the students have understood the involved concepts. In traditional approaches to the subject, there is little feedback from the students and at times for the students. We aim to make the students’ learning process more effective by introducing a hands-on lab component involving two established learning technologies: Alloy and POGIL. Alloy is a software tool that enables expression of constraints in predicate logic while offering instant feedback on satisfiability of the constraints. POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) is a teaching pedagogy that lets the students learn in a creative way where they can interact, reflect upon and experience knowledge organically. By amalgamating these two we hope to see the students learn the course material in the best possible way-through experience, discussion, reflection and feedback. My contribution lies in designing laboratory exercises using the Alloy software for students and in creating evaluation rubrics, when we teach the Discrete structures course without Alloy in one semester and with Alloy in the next.

COinS