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Professor Mark Mahoney Prof. Mark Mahoney Prof. Mark Mahoney presented a paper and gave a live demonstration of his ‘Storyteller’ tool at the recent Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) conference in Toronto, Canada.

His presentation showcased a tool that he has been developing to guide learners through code examples.

The tool captures low-level changes made to a group of files using a popular code editor. Then it allows the programming session to be replayed so that an author can annotate the evolution of the code and explain the reasons behind important decisions. The author-supplied narrative can include text, code highlights, media (hand-drawn pictures, screenshots, videos, and audio files), and self-grading questions. The combination of the narrative and the evolving code is called a code ‘playback,’ which can be viewed in a web browser.

The tool provides instructors with an alternative to live coding that allows them to describe code faster and with fewer mistakes. In addition, it provides a way for an instructor to build up relevant content that can replace traditional textbooks. The results of several anonymous student surveys were discussed in the paper, which show that students prefer code playbacks to traditional programming books and tutorial videos.

Professor Mark Mahoney's ?Storyteller' Tool.

“I’m excited to share this innovative tool with the computer science education community,” said Prof. Mahoney. “I believe it will greatly enhance the learning experience for students and help instructors more effectively guide them through code examples.”

Prof. Mahoney’s paper and demonstration were met with enthusiasm at the conference, and many attendees expressed interest in using the tool in their own courses.

Sponsoring Department, Office, or Organization:

Computer Science Department