Answering Student Programming Questions using Domain-specific Search

Meyer, Kelvin and Suleman, Hussein (2020) Answering Student Programming Questions using Domain-specific Search, Proceedings of Annual Conference of the Southern African Computer Lecturers’ Association (SACLA), 6-9 July 2020, Virtual.

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Discussion forums are commonly used in online learning environments for teaching programming, to create a platform for students to discuss course content. This platform of interaction is not without its challenges, as students regularly repeat questions that others have asked, both within and across offerings of a particular course. If past answers can be reliably provided to students, it eliminates the need for repetition and provides students with immediate assistance. This study investigates an approach to enable this through the addition of a search feature that indexes and queries discussion forum messages from a previous year to answer student questions. In particular, the paper presents a comparison of different ranking approaches based on the exploitation of domain-specific features of a social discussion forum on a learning management system, in particular, the authority of respondents. Results show that information retrieval can yield relevant answers to students in a programming course within the first 3-5 results, with some improvement in the outcomes when the social notion of authority in exploited.

Item Type: Conference paper
Additional Information: Short paper
Subjects: Social and professional topics > Professional topics > Computing education
Applied computing > Education > Interactive learning environments
Applied computing > Education > Collaborative learning
Applied computing > Education > Learning management systems
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2020 11:27
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2020 11:27

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