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Online Learning Tool Brings 'the Crowd' Into Homework Assignments

By MIT News

December 17, 2012

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed Caesar, a computer system designed to provide students with feedback on their homework assignments and create more interaction between students, teachers, and alumni. The researchers say Caesar was developed to address the challenge of how to facilitate instructor feedback to the hundreds of students taking an introductory computer science course.

"What we are trying to do is to learn how to use a crowd of people with mixed expertise in an intelligent way; one that helps students and 'the crowd' expand their knowledge and improve on their expertise," says MIT professor Rob Miller.

Caesar consists of a code selector, a task router, and a reviewing interface. After students have turned in an assignment, the code selector divides their work into chunks and prioritizes the chunks that need review, based on features of the code that suggest it will need attention. The task router then assigns these chunks to a diverse group of reviewers. Caesar also provides opportunities for other kinds of interaction among its users, as reviewers can agree or disagree with fellow reviewer's comments.

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