University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 743-748
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
VPL stands for Virtual Programming Lab and refers to a Moodle’s module designed to manage computing programming assignments and propose assessments reports for them. VPL is an open and distributable tool, independent from the programming languages, and concerned with security. From learner's viewpoint, VPL can be used to make various types of tasks related with computer programming. The simplest task is viewing and executing of interactive and modifiable examples. The next type of task is fill-in-the-blank exercises, consisting on to provide the student a piece of code with blank spaces that must fill properly to resolve a given problem. This is a type of quiz commonly used in other disciplines and VPL provides support for it in the context of programming learning. It may be very useful for beginners in order to smooth their learning curve, in opposition to the more-usual-than-convenient alternative of develop whole pieces of code at first time. VPL may also be used for the classic kind of programming activity that provides the student a description of a problem and requests him a piece of code to solve it.

These entire tasks can be executed in the VPL environment by means of the facilities for edition, compilation, execution, debugging and evaluation provided by it, or they can be performed offline, being submitted then. Also, they can be configured as a long-term homework or as a room's exam.

From assessment's view VPL executes tests for the student’s submissions and produces an assessment report that is shown to the student for feedback. This report may be used by the evaluator as aid to give his final evaluation. It may alternately be used for automatic grading.

VPL has also anti-plagiarism application: it analyze similarities by means of three complementary metrics and shows a sorted list of most-similar works as well as a list of clusters of very similar works and allows viewing of similar works pairs in a side-by-side frame. Watermarks and other restrictions can be used in addition.
Virtual labs, blended learning, programming learning, assignment management, automatic assessment.