Addressing drop-out and sustained effort issues with large practical groups using an automated delivery and assessment system Articles uri icon

publication date

  • February 2013

start page

  • 33

end page

  • 42


  • 61

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0360-1315

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-782X


  • The acquisition of programming skills specially in introductory programming courses poses an important challenge for freshmen students of engineering programs. These courses require students to devote a sustained effort during the whole course and a failure to do so may contribute to not passing the course. However, it is difficult for the teaching staff to deploy measures to enforce a pattern of continuous work without significantly increasing the required management tasks. A significant reduction of this workload can be achieved with the automation of time consuming tasks such as the delivery of activities or submission grading. This paper presents a case of study where a technology based orchestration of learning scripts was applied in a large enrollment course to promote student sustained effort through the course and keep the workload on teaching staff within reasonable margins. The orchestration system, based on IMS Learning Design and Generic Service Integration, automatically evaluated the student submissions and gradually unlocked the following activities depending on the received results. Such system was used during a semester supporting 425 students and 8 instructors. The analysis of the case of study followed a mixed method based on qualitative and quantitative data, and revealed a significant reduction of the orchestration workload on the teaching staff, allowing the strategy of continuous work to be applied in a course with high enrollment. Additionally, the application of these techniques show statistically significant differences in the drop out rate with respect to previous editions of the course.


  • Telecommunications


  • project based learning; programming; ims learning design; automatic grading; sustained effort