1 Accademia Navale di Livorno (ITALY)
2 Università di Pisa, Dipartimento di Informatica (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 5067-5074
ISBN: 978-84-616-0763-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain
One of the topics of the ECDL - European Computer Driving Licence is: "Know about the main concepts of file management and be able to efficiently organise files and folders so that they are easy to identify and find". However, the assessment of such skills is often performed by elementary tests, without checking how the student actually handles files and folders.
We applied the result-driven approach [1] to this topic to obtain a cross-platform teaching and learning environment to author, administer and automatically evaluate problem-solving exercises involving basic operations on file systems such as: creating, copying, moving, and renaming files and directories, and setting their attributes.

The authoring subsystem allows the teacher to compose problems starting from an initial set of resources and from a target file-system that the student is asked to reproduce. The teacher may set the aspects to evaluate (such as: content, size or attributes of files and directories) and sets their scores. The teacher may also chose among three kind of exercises: the "copy", where the target configuration is schematically given as a tree diagram that the student has to reproduce within the file-system; the "screenshot" where the student is asked to replicate what he sees in one or more pictures of the target file-system (with a "what you see is what you have to do" approach), and the "dictation", where the required steps are given as simple instructions that the student has to understand and perform.

Within the testing environment, the student may perform the solving steps in any order able to reproduce the expected file-system. The student may also ask hints (some automatically extracted from the teacher's solution) or ask for the automatic completion of a step that he is unable to perform. The system is able to automatically evaluate the student's work by simply comparing his file-system with the teacher's expected one. The system will check and record all accomplished steps, and keep track of all provided hint or missing step in order to obtain an impartial and personalized evaluation of student's file-system problem-solving skills.

[1] G. Fiorentino, A. Fabrizio, G. Pacini, "Learning by result-driven problem-solving. A general approach to computer-aided problem-solving and assessment", Proceedings of the INTED 2010, Valencia (Spain), 2010.
ECDL, Problem-solving, Partial evaluation, Computer-aided learning.