28 September 2011

System goes live!

Version 0.1 of the software is ready for testing by the pilot user group. This version implements:
  • A web UI running as a Python Pyramid application.
  • 6 templated questions that showcase the following functionality:
    • Random generation of values for the question.
    • Graphs and plots generated with those values.
    • Scaffolded questions, where users answer subquestions and get feedback in stages.
  • User tracking: the system records all responses that users gave to questions. No reporting is currently done, but this is on the to-do list.

High on the to-do list are:
  • Adding more templated questions.
  • Categorizing questions based on a curriculum-aligned topic tree. This is critical for the future of the project, where analysis of users' responses to questions and how it relates to users' understanding of the concepts underlying said questions will play a leading role.
  • Providing some kind of reporting to teachers and students. It's not clear yet what this should look like, but a first draft will hopefully emerge from the pilot.
  • Switching to structured XML storage of templates. Templates are currently a bit ad hoc and with an eye on the future, it makes sense to XML the presentation of questions asap. The internal logic will stay in Python for now as I'm not yet convinced that MathML is capable of expressing it.

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