Tools and Methodologies for Teaching Online Computer-Science Courses in LMS Environment

Tools and Methodologies for Teaching Online Computer-Science Courses in LMS Environment

Vladimir V. Riabov (Rivier University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3930-0.ch008
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The author shares his experiences teaching various online computer-science courses (via the Blackboard™ and synchronous web conferencing tools) using state-of-the-art free-license software tools for conducting online virtual labs and numerous students’ projects. The labs were designed to help students explore modern, sophisticated techniques in several areas of computer science: computer-system analysis and design, programming in C/C++ and Java, software quality assurance, data communication in networking systems, computer security, system simulation and modeling, numerical analysis, image processing, multimedia applications, Web development, and database design and management. All the online courses include “warm-up” exercises and lab-based projects that provide students with knowledge, instructions, and hands-on experience, and that motivate them in selecting topics for technology overviews and research.
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The collapse of networking industry in 1999-2000, the world economic crisis of 2008-2010, and visa restrictions for international specialists and students (that were enforced after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001) changed dramatically the student population in colleges and universities nation-wide (Bollag, 2004). Enrollment continues to decline in both undergraduate and graduate computer science programs (Zweben & Aspray, 2004; McCormack, 2005), particularly putting at risk small computer science programs in liberal arts colleges, which heavily depend on the international students’ enrollment. At the same time, companies still demand fewer, but better prepared computer engineers with solid knowledge and hands-on experience.

All these factors have to be considered seriously and must be reflected in searching new approaches for teaching online the computer science courses. In this chapter, the author shares his experience in re-designing the computer science curriculum for teaching courses online. His teaching methods (Riabov, 1997; 2000a; 2000b; 2006a) are based on several techniques (Riabov, 2002a; 2002b; 2005b; 2006a) that challenge and motivate students to become passionate in their studies and be active in the virtual classroom environment. Starting every class session with small challenging “warm-up” exercises (Sabin et al., 2005; Riabov, 2006a; Riabov & Higgs, 2011), the instructor encourages students to select and develop their own projects. He provides them with examples of the best achievements of professionals in the related fields of expertise (Riabov, 2004; 2005a; 2006b), the best projects of students (available on the instructor’s Website, http://www.rivier.edy/faculty/vriabov/), who took similar courses in the past, and the challenges of the discipline (Riabov, 2012a).

This paper demonstrates the advantages of using a project-based approach (Riabov, 1997; 2000a; 2000b; 2002b; 2003; 2006a; 2007; 2011) in online course delivery that motivates students in studying and learning modern computing technologies. “Warm-up” exercises, online discussions of recent research publications, lectures, and virtual labs stimulate students in selecting topics for their technology overviews and research projects and provide them with knowledge, instruction, and hands-on experience. The students, who accept the challenge of innovation in computer science areas, display their successes by presenting their work at national and international conferences (Milkovits, 2005; Selent, 2011), publishing their project reports in the Rivier Academic Journal (2012), and promoting their findings among their college peers and their colleagues in companies and organizations (Riabov, 2005c; 2005d).

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Yefim Kats
Yefim Kats
Chapter 1
Anthony A. Piña
In this chapter, the reader is taken through a “big picture” view of learning management systems, with an emphasis on systems that are used in... Sample PDF
Learning Management Systems: A Look at the Big Picture
Chapter 2
Apostolos Koutropoulos
Educational technology goes hand-in-hand with pedagogy when it comes to teaching and learning. At the center of our collection of educational tools... Sample PDF
Learning Management System Evaluation and Selection: A Case Study of the University of Massachusetts System Methodology for the Learning Platform Review
Chapter 3
Sergey Butakov, Oleg Solodky, Bobby Swar
The main goal of this chapter is to share experience on implementing LMS in startup institutions in developing, emerging, and developed countries.... Sample PDF
LMS Implementation in Startup Institutions: Case Study of Three Projects
Chapter 4
Tawnya Means, Douglas Johnson, Randy Graff
In 2008-2009, the University of Florida (UF) undertook a process of selecting a new course management system (CMS) to replace the existing CMS. This... Sample PDF
Lessons Learned from a Course Management System Review at the University of Florida
Chapter 5
Ross Ian Vance, Beth Crawford
Utilization of a learning management system (LMS) to deploy web-based learning content creates opportunities to cross cultural boarders and... Sample PDF
Challenges of LMS Implementation in a Multi-Cultural Context
Chapter 6
Ahmed Younis Alsabawy, Aileen Cater-Steel, Jeffrey Soar
E-learning systems have received considerable attention from researchers, educational institutions, and organisations for their anticipated... Sample PDF
E-Learning Service Delivery Quality: A Determinant of User Satisfaction
Chapter 7
Sergey Butakov, Vladislav Shcherbinin, Vadim Diagilev, Alexander Tskhay
The main objectives of this chapter are to review available plagiarism detection tools, discuss the most popular software tools on the market and... Sample PDF
Embedding Plagiarism Detection Mechanisms into Learning Management Systems
Chapter 8
Vladimir V. Riabov
The author shares his experiences teaching various online computer-science courses (via the Blackboard™ and synchronous web conferencing tools)... Sample PDF
Tools and Methodologies for Teaching Online Computer-Science Courses in LMS Environment
Chapter 9
Clark Shah-Nelson
Instant messaging and text chat, online collaborative whiteboards, web conferencing and other synchronous Web 2.0 tools are increasingly finding... Sample PDF
Synchronous Tools in Support of Teaching and Learning
Chapter 10
Rebecca Curtin, Michael Tarnow
The introduction of user-friendly modern technology is significantly changing the traditional conduct of everyday life in all its manifestations... Sample PDF
Integrating iPad Technology in Learning Experiences: A Case Study of an iPad Pilot Project
Chapter 11
Ângelo Jesus, Maria João Gomes
The use of Web 2.0 technology is rapidly being integrated into undergraduate and graduate education, which dramatically influences the ways learners... Sample PDF
Web 2.0 Tools in Biomedical Education: Limitations and Possibilities
Chapter 12
Michael F. Beaudoin
In this era of student-centered, collaborative, constructivist learning, augmented by social networks and other virtual environments featuring... Sample PDF
The Evolving Role of the Instructor in the Digital Age
Chapter 13
Colleen S. Harris, David W. Rausch
This chapter is intended to inform practitioners and those who design curricula in online and hybrid-delivery programs, particularly at the graduate... Sample PDF
Leveraging Learning Theory and Learning Management Systems in Higher Education: The Critical Role of Instructor Facilitation
Chapter 14
Eileen O’Donnell, Mary Sharp, Vincent P. Wade, Liam O’Donnell
This book chapter reviews some of the challenges encountered by educators in creating personalised e-learning activities to suit students learning... Sample PDF
Challenges Encountered in Creating Personalised Learning Activities to Suit Students Learning Preferences
Chapter 15
Nory B. Jones, Christian Graham
Education continues to evolve to meet changing educational needs, budgetary pressures, and evolving lifestyles of different students. Distance and... Sample PDF
Practices and Tools in Online Course Delivery
Chapter 16
Melanie Shaw, Kelley Walters, Todd Kane, David Long
In this case study research, data were gathered from faculty and students who have online teaching or learning experience to determine the types of... Sample PDF
Online Course Activities: A Case Study of Assignments and Assessment Types
Chapter 17
Torsten Reiners, Lincoln C. Wood
This chapter will cover our current research concerning developing and trialling immersive environments as an innovative and authentic approach to... Sample PDF
Immersive Virtual Environments to Facilitate Authentic Education in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Chapter 18
Jim Prentzas, Theodosios Theodosiou
In this chapter, issues concerning the role of Learning Management Systems in early childhood education are discussed. To the best of the authors’... Sample PDF
The Role of Learning Management Systems in Early Childhood Education
Chapter 19
Jason H. Epstein, Andrew Goldberg, Marina Krol, Adam Levine
Technology has become ubiquitous throughout medical education. Currently there is a wide range of tools that can be used to supplement traditional... Sample PDF
Virtual Tools in Medical Education
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