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A cloud LMS built specifically for coding classes

No-installation, language-agnostic, enterprise-grade platform delivers greater efficiency and efficacy for coding courses at top universities
University Business, September 2015
Sanjay Srivastava
Sanjay Srivastava

How have Computer Science and coding-related classes changed in the past few years, and how do you expect to see it evolve in the near future?
Coding has become a part of how basic literacy will be defined for the next generation. We predict that the number of opportunities available in coding-related jobs is only going to grow as more and more of society moves to digital platforms. Coding instruction has already extended beyond Computer Science into Statistics, Computational Biology and Business Administration. Universities have seen a surge in enrollment in Computer Science-related programs, often doubling in size over a period of three to four years. Since commercial systems are largely inadequate to address unique needs of coding classes, professors are left struggling to manage this growth.

What is the approach that Vocareum is taking to address these needs?
At Vocareum, we go beyond the cloud storage and management capabilities of today’s general purpose LMS by deeply integrating coding execution into our platform. Our goal is to increase efficiency by leveraging cloud infrastructure and delivering an LMS that makes an exponential difference in the lives of professors and students. We automate tasks such as grading, online exams provisioning and providing students immediate feedback on their work by running tests on their code.

What are some capabilities that Vocareum delivers?
We were fortunate enough to be guided by some of the most passionate professors in Computer Science programs across the country. Over 3,500 students at top universities such as UCSD, USC, UIUC and Penn State went through the platform as a part of their CS and EE classes, and the broad release of our product reflects a lot of what we learned through our pilots. Some of our most widely used features include:

  • Instantaneous setup of coding assignments and exams for students.
  • Students being able to submit work and get immediate feedback on their code by running coding tests in their browsers without any installation.
  • Automation of grading by running tests on student submissions.
  • Implementation of active learning strategies such as peer review and team projects with the click of few buttons during configuration
  • Easy-to-use plagiarism detection tool
  • Detailed analytics on all assessment points.

Why do you see the need to move computer labs to the cloud?
The physical infrastructure of computer labs can severely limit scale and reduce effectiveness. Computer labs cannot grow as quickly as the demand for computing courses increases. They become a big barrier for universities to extend their offering to distance learners. Various industries are moving to a BYOD environment, where personal devices are supported by cloud infrastructure. We believe that computer labs need to end up there as well. Our platform is built on Amazon Cloud Services with capabilities to manage the diverse needs of different coding classes—in terms of both size and tools. Vocareum is an open platform that seamless integrates with existing solutions through standards like LTI and our open API.

"I successfully used Vocareum in three computer science classes to manage coding assignments for over a thousand students. In addition to using the platform to centralize submission and grading, I am looking forward to soon trying out new capabilities like analytics and plagiarism detection."
— Christine J. Alvarado, Associate Teaching Professor, UC, San 
Diego

For more information, visit www.vocareum.com/more
To sign up for a free evaluation, visit http://www.vocareum.com/#contact

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