Case Study: Penn State University

Penn State

Successfully deployed Vocareum in Data Structure and Algorithms class (CMPSC 465) with over 200 students at Penn State. Vocareum helped improve the student experience by providing immediate feedback upon assignment submission.


Paul Medvedev, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State University

“I was looking for a platform that would support auto-grading, be very flexible, and scale to a large number of students.”

The Experience

I am teaching an algorithms and data structure class, not a programming class. However, implementing algorithms is a great way for students to solidify their knowledge. I wanted the focus of the students to be on understanding the logic behind the algorithms, as opposed to figuring out how to write test cases or advancing their programming skills. Vocareum helped me achieve the right balance.

It was possible to set things up on Vocareum so that students got immediate feedback upon submission. Students did not have to wait to find out their grades. We set it up so that students could choose to improve their work until all the test cases passed.

I would like to highlight a couple of points to someone teaching a class with coding assignments. Vocareum has great customer service and that it is a great learning experience for the students in this type of a class to implement the algorithm and get immediate feedback.

The Impact

Programming assignments are now easier to implement with my classes. A possible alternative would have been to go down the traditional path of a TA writing some scripts for grading and submission. In that case where the student learning experience would have suffered, the students can now get immediate feedback upon submission.