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UML-test Application for Automated Validation of Students’ UML Class Diagram

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Slides for our presentation at The 29th IEEE Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training (CSEE&T) 2016 conference, Dallas, TX USA

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UML-test Application for Automated Validation of Students’ UML Class Diagram

  1. 1. PavelHeroutandPremekBrada CSEE&T 2016, Dallas UML-test Application for Automated Validation of Students’ UML Class Diagrams Department of Computer Science and Engineering University of West Bohemia Pilsen, Czech Republic
  2. 2. 1st year undergraduates ~90 novice students, 1 experienced teacher parallel Intro to programming (Java) Prepare for routine programming fluency in core O-O programming notions hands-on knowledge of design patterns, collections Get acquainted with associated practices UML as ex-post code documentation passive experience with automated testing All needed downstream – algorithms, systems, technologies Context and teaching goals UML-test for Automated Validation of Student's Diagrams 2
  3. 3. Factors student numbers (90:1) => need for efficiency limited initial skills => need for feedback and learning Key parts of the approach 2hr lecture, detailed materials (books, slides, examples) simple tools – BlueJ, UMLet homework: 11 tasks, evolving complexity combination of automated and manual assessment small group learning and 1:1 only for those that need help Automate the assessment more than usual Teaching approach UML-test for Automated Validation of Student's Diagrams 3
  4. 4. Part of a larger scheme. Goals: filter out noise and common mistakes still provide enough learning feedback make assessment more objective and repeatable UML diagram checking class diagram only (basic code documentation) presence/absence of important diagram elements relation types, cardinality NOT diagram layout and aesthetic Process: Automated UML Checking in KIV/OOP UML-test for Automated Validation of Student's Diagrams 4 Create master diagram Generate tests, build tool Check student diagrams
  5. 5. Master diagram UMLet Testing tool Eclipse + Maven project in-house framework for UXF -> JUnit code generation build => uml-test-NN.jar + batch variant Available tweaks levels of testing (configuration), hide tests from students stop-on-first / check all UML checking: Preparatory phase UML-test for Automated Validation of Student's Diagrams 5
  6. 6. Students hand in University portal Validator runs testing .jar (set up by teacher first) on each hand-in displays feedback incl. errors Results linked with detailed error description list Teacher grades using .jar or batch.jar (no hidden tests) UML checking: Testing tool use UML-test for Automated Validation of Student's Diagrams 6
  7. 7. First year of full deployment Teacher observations system lets us analyse if/how students improve unique error codes => statistics scales to small dozens of elements Data hint at student learning curve ratio errors:tests number of attempts before success Students: „Even though a programming novice, I do not regret signing up for the course in my first semester. Do not give up at the beginning.“ Experience UML-test for Automated Validation of Student's Diagrams 7
  8. 8. Inspiration and motivation efficiency, ICPC, geeky nature ;-) Benefits efficiency while maintaining baseline quality and feedback data to analyse (potentially time series) Costs and weak aspects effort to develop and maintain supporting tools not for everyone (adoption levels across the department) student attitude „program to pass unit tests“ tool feedback does not (most cases) tell how to improve Discussion UML-test for Automated Validation of Student's Diagrams 8
  9. 9. Automated UML class diagram verification is possible students learn correct code documentation teacher(s) assess efficiently Scope needs to be managed introductory year, large student populations, few teachers => assignment count and complexity simple tools (UMLet + JUnit + test generation framework) Positive experiences Work needed on tool & data analysis improvements Conclusions UML-test for Automated Validation of Student's Diagrams 9

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