Level-UP: Unveiling Programming

  • Dr. Donald House (PI)
  • Dr. Brian Malloy (co-PI)
  • Cory Buckley
  • Wayne Ryan

This project is devoted to the development and classroom evaluation of a new approach to the teaching of introductory programming. A key premise in the design of the approach is that programming students should become intimately familiar with the Von Neumann machine model underlying the execution of their programs. The two innovations supporting this premise will be the design and development of an introductory programming curriculum that exposes the student to a progressively more sophisticated set of programming paradigms, and a computing machine simulator that unveils the more complex models of machine structure required to support these paradigms.

Corollary to this will be the design and development of a video game embedding both the curriculum and the simulator. Thus, the fruits of the project should be usable in a classroom environment, with a teacher guiding development of programming skills, or in a game environment where the student is guided through the curriculum by the video game. We plan to use classroom experience, in a university and in a high school setting, to evaluate the approach for both student engagement, and transferable knowledge. In addition, observations and reflective notes from classroom experience will be used to refine and improve the curriculum and simulator design.

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