PI Forum
Disseminating & Evaluating Innovations in Introductory Programming

Welcome aboard...

This page is just a place holder until we design & establish a definitive web presence for this group.

In the meantime, if you were invited to take our survey, please feel free to do so by going to the Adoption Factors Survey tab

What is this group about?

The Disseminating & Evaluating Innovations in Introductory Programmin PI Forum regroups PIs who worked on NSF computing education grants focused on developing innovations for introductory programming. These innovations might be of a curricular nature or software.

Members are offering workshops and other events at various computing education venues, in order to increase the awareness of available resources while also gathering data on the factors which impact, positively or negatively, the adoption of such innovations by our community.

For more information about this NSF initiative, visit http://ccliconference.org/pi-forum/


Do not hesitate to email Dr. Amruth Kumar if you have questions or would be interested in joining our community

Please find below a list of projects which are members of this PI Forum


  • http://problets.org
  • PI - Amruth Kumar, Computer Science, Ramapo College of New Jersey
  • Partial support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation under grants DUE-0088864, CNS-0426021, and DUE-0817187.
  • Problets are problem solving software assistants for learning, reinforcement and assessment of programming concepts. They are designed to help students learn programming concepts through small-scale problem-solving, and as a supplement to large-scale programming traditionally used in introductory programming courses. At this site, you can find out more about the capabilities of the problets, their pedagogy, and about using them in your courses.

CLUE - C Programming Pedagogy

  • http://cereal.forest.usf.edu/clue/
  • PI - Alessio Gaspar, Information Technology, University of South Florida, Tampa
  • CLUE stands for C Learning Undergraduate Environment. It was funded by NSF DUE CCLI program under award #0836863 from 2008 to 2013.
  • This project focused on development both software & teaching / self-learning resources to address the need for such efforts to support the learning of the C programming language

POGIL - Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning

  • http://cspogil.org
  • http://cspogil.org
  • PI - Clif Kussmaul, Muhlenberg College/Matt Lang, Moravian College
  • In Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL), students teams with assigned roles and defined processes work during classtime on scripted activities designed to lead them through an explore-invent-apply learning cycle to create their own understanding. The POGIL Project has developed a set (~15) of 90-min immersive faculty development workshops; key concepts of POGIL can be introduced in 1.5 or 3 hours.

MGD - Mobile Game Development

  • http://www.mgdcs.com
  • PI - Stan Kurkovsky, Computer Science, Central Connecticut State University
  • Mobile Game Development (MGD) projects are learning modules consisting of laboratory projects and instructional materials that use mobile game development early in the CS curriculum as a motivational learning context to reinforce the learning of fundamental principles, e.g. classes and inheritance. They also serve as a platform to introduce students to a range of advanced CS topics, such as artificial intelligence, databases, and networking. By demonstrating these and other non-programming and diverse aspects of the discipline to the students, this approach may help dissolve a widely popular misconception that .CS is all about coding..


  • http://www.mgdcs.com
  • PI - Peter DePasquale, Computer Science, The College of New Jersey
  • COMTOR is the Java source code comment mentor/grader. This web-based system parses student Java source code and their comments and provides feedback and grading on the commenting. COMTOR is also accessible via Netbeans and Eclipse plug-ins (summer .13). Instructor supervision is not required by COMTOR. The concepts and experience of COMTOR can be covered in about 1 hour.

PBD - Program by design

  • http://programbydesign.org/
  • http://picturingprograms.org/
  • PI - Stephen Bloch, Computer Science, Adelphi University
  • Program By Design was originally designed as a full-year introductory curriculum at the college level, but it has been adapted to other contexts: a distribution course for college non-majors, a high school pre-AP course, and (in its Bootstrap variant) a 5-10-week after-school program at the middle-school level. It includes two beginner-friendly programming environments (one installed, one Web-based) and several textbooks (e.g. Picturing Programs, How to Design Programs).


  • http://web-cat.org
  • PI - Stephen Edwards, Computer Science, Virginia Tech
  • Web-CAT is a plug-in-based automated grading platform for processing programming assignments. It is most well-known for allowing instructors to grade students on how well they test their own software, but is not limited to only assignments where students write tests. It has the most support for Java, including code coverage analysis and integration of static analysis tools.

MAS - Spacially Explicit Multi-Agent Simulation

  • http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/index.shtml
  • PI - Matthew Dickerson, Computer Science, Middlebury College, Vermont
  • Spatially explicit multi-agent simulation (MAS) (in a language such as NetLogo) is not only a fast growing research field, but it provides another approach to both CS0 and CS1 that makes learning algorithmic and programming concepts and computational thinking more intuitive and visual. The nature of agent-based programming allows active learning as student can experiment with and observe the emergent behavior resulting from algorithmic decisions. The approach also highlights the relevance of computational thinking because of the immediate applications in natural, social, and environmental studies as well as the complexity of projects that an introductory level student can design and complete. The approach is a curricular approach -- that is, the design of an entire course around multi-agent simulation and the NetLogo language. The material is delivered through both classroom and lab exercises (active and passive supervision) that provide active learning.

As our members offer various events, e.g. workshops, panels, at computing education research venues, we will invite attendees to share with us their experience & thoughts regarding the factors which support or prevent the adoption of introductory programming innovations. If you were directed to this page during such an event, please make sure to specify the event on the survey first page; e.g. SIGITE2013.

This is an anonymous survey and but responses will be analyzed and made available to the community at large to help disseminate our findings on what constitute good dissemination practices

You will find below a link to the survey, we appreciate the time you will spend providing us with your feedback.

Take our online anonymous survey now.