Date of Award

1998

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Computer Science

Department

Computer Science and Statistics

First Advisor

Gerard Baudet

Abstract

A primary challenge for science educators is to develop ways to help students understand new ideas that cannot be directly observed. The application of computer simulations is one method instructors may use to address the problem of teaching for conceptual understanding. The use of computer simulations for science teaching is increasing steadily because simulations provide students with the opportunity to witness or "perform" experiments that might otherwise be too expensive, too time consuming, or too dangerous for them to do in the lab. Simulation, in general, is a very effective way for both a student and a professional to visualize concepts and ideas and to check the accuracy of results generated theoretically. Typically, computer simulations represent real world events on the computer and allow students to observe new phenomena by performing various manipulations that affect the on-screen events.

Here, at the University of Rhode Island, introductory computer science courses include computer organization and architecture with concepts that can often be difficult to grasp. This dilemma lays the foundation for the need for educational software "simulation" which better enables students to understand the concepts and ideas presented in class. In this project, we set to design and develop LogicCity, a prototype model of an on-line interactive digital logic design simulator that will be used as a teaching aid by complementing class discussions. LogicCity can be used as a stand-alone application or it can be incorporated into the Web as an applet. Students may use this simulator as a tool to build combinational digital circuits and generate accurate results. It is also designed to work in conjunction with the coaching material of an introductory computer organization course.

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