The CS 1 WebToTeach Clinical Trial

Why WebToTeach?
We think WTT is a winner. It is in its fourth semester of use, has been used in more than 40 sections, and is currently used in twenty sections in 5 different schools. WTT is supported by grants from the NSF and Sun Microsystems.

Why a clinical trial?
CS education needs to advance beyond the realm of anecdotal evidence for various techniques, tools and curricula. Randomized clinical trials is a well-established methodology for establishing the efficacy of treatments. While not appropriate for all CS education innovations, it is appropriate in this case. Besides testing WTT, this is the first large scale randomized clinical trial in CS education. If it proves feasible and useful, it won't be the last. As a community, we all will have advanced!

Why should my department participate?
By participating, your students benefit and your department gets an early opportunity to evaluate an important teaching tool. Furthermore, your department will be making a decisive contribution to the advancement of CS education.

Where does WTT run?
WTT runs on a server at Brooklyn College and is administered there.

What equipment or software does my department need?
Just what you already have. All your students need is access to a web-browser such as Navigator (3 or better) or Explorer (4 or better). No department resources (other than the browsers and the access to the Internet) are utilized.

Does WTT replace homework? Closed labs? Lectures? TAs? Instructors?
No. No. No. No. No. WTT provides an additional student activity that helps students benefit more from all those resources.

What about privacy?
We respect the privacy of your students. As soon as outcome data is received, we will generate anonymous IDs and destroy any reference to your students names in our data.

How many semesters must my department commit to?
One at a time.

What are my department's obligations?
To accept the randomization of assigned treatment; to carry out the intervention honestly and fairly; to contact the trial administrator in the event of any question or problem; to provide outcome data from CS 1 sections of the previous year; to provide outcome data of CS 1 sections in the trial.

How much harder is it for an instructor whose section uses WTT?
It's easy, really! The instructor has to distribute WTT accounts and passwords to students at the beginning of the term announce that WTT will be 10% of the grade assign reasonable deadlines for each of the exercises (WTT enforces them) look at the roster in the end to use the WTT data for determining a grade (we expect) field occasional questions by the students about the WTT exercises

What do we provide the instructor?
The accounts (ids and passwords), the questions, the answers, full access to roster information and student submissions.

I have more questions, how do I get them answered?
Send mail to David Arnow, arnow@acm.org

* The WebToTeach Project Web Page
* The CCLI Project Web Page
* fie99.pdf -- Paper on WebToTeach presented in FIE '99
* ITICSE99.pdf -- Paper on an application of WebToTeach (on-line testing) presented in ITiCSE '99