University of Patras (GREECE)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN20 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 596-603
ISBN: 978-84-09-17979-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2020.0240
Conference name: 12th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-7 July, 2020
Location: Online Conference
The need for constituting bodies via "random" selection from a given pool of candidates is an issue usually arising in higher education institutes. Such bodies include particular administrative committees, like for example supervising committees, evaluation committees, election bodies for faculty promotion, etc, as well as student groups in the context of various educational activities.

An approach usually adopted is manually conducted draws. However, in this sort of traditional selection procedures features like transparency, true randomness of obtained results and fairness are often questioned. Lack of trust in selection procedures may result in low-quality bodies and poor cooperation, which in turn can cause various forms of instability, diminishing social welfare within the corresponding society.

In this work, we suggest a simple application which can be used to produce provably random lists of individuals for serving as members in administrative bodies and educational groups. Our solution is based on the "Algorithm P (Shuffling)", also known as Durstenfeld-Knuth shuffle. The algorithm was first stated in the 60s improving on a previously suggested relevant method known as the Fisher–Yates shuffle. We provide a stand-alone prototype developed in java which can be easily used by non-experts without involving advanced computer skills. The application receives as input a list of candidates and the number of required selections. The input list can be provided either manually or via uploading a file. The output consists in the list of required persons, which essentially is a prefix of a random permutation of the input list computed by "Algorithm P (Shuffling)". The output list, which is produced fast, in time linear to the length of the input list, can either appear on screen or be saved in a file.

Our application showcases how algorithms and modern technology can be exploited to provide useful, practical solutions to real-world problems related to administrative procedures in education.
Randomly selected bodies, Knuth shuffle, Fisher–Yates shuffle, java.