Groupware-Mediated Cooperative Programming
Teaching Web Technology to Non-Scientists

One consequence of the rapid growth of the Internet is the corresponding rapid increase in the demand for teams of software and Web site developers to support the creation of Web content and services. Complicating matters is the need to train large numbers of workers with non-technical backgrounds for the growing electronic workplace. This research explores groupware-mediated cooperative tools to teach IT skills to novices. In this project we are building a same time/different place groupware system that supports collaborative learning of Web development and applet programming for a computer science general service course serving social science, humanities, and fine arts students.

  • the GrewpEdit collaborative editor.
    This application provides both a multi-user, non-blocking, collaborative editor and a rendezvous mechanism to simplify group creation and formation. It has been extensively tested in teaching situations from small study groups of 3-4 students up to Computer Science lab courses with around 20 students.
  • Web Programming pedagogical materials
    An interactive website for learning HTML, CSS, servlet programming, and applet programming/. This curriculum has been developed over the past eight years and has been successfully used to teach fairly sophisticated (and useful) programming techniques to non-scientists. This courseware has been released under a creative commons licence that allows others to contribute sections and to improve the presentation.
  • the GrewpTool platform for studying collaborative learning.
    GrewpTool is a platform for studying collaborative learning. It combines a few collaborative editors (for Scheme, HTML, and Java) with a comprehensive logging and playback facility. In VCR mode, the researcher can replay a session (with forward and reverse controls and various speeds) as well as search forward or backward for high level events (such as chats, cobrowser activity, collaborative edits, etc.) This tool has been used for a large scale study of 50 pre-novice students working in pairs and solo. We are in the process of analyzing the results now.
The source code for all of these deliverables is available at the website.
Funded by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EIA-0082393      

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.