“Coding Rooms came to the fore. It had all this functionality in one place.”
OES is an Australian-based online education innovator, founded as a joint venture between global digital employment platform, SEEK Limited and an Australian university. Having supported over 50,000 students in the past 10 years, they are committed to achieving the best quality learning experience for all students to help them achieve their study goals.
Two years ago, OES introduced computer science to its expansive range of online qualifications. With the introduction of any new discipline, a review of the pedagogical approach was undertaken to ensure it met discipline and student needs. Specifically, it emerged that computer science students were seeking a synchronous and personalised connection with academic teaching staff.
The team at OES developed a new workshop model where coding learners could tackle practical exercises while receiving immediate feedback as well as ongoing live support from experts. But a platform was required to support this approach.
“We needed a platform that could replicate a live computer science lab online. Coding Rooms provided this functionality” says Brooke Walters, Academic STEM Learning Consultant at OES. Video conferencing, a browser-based IDE, huge library of programming languages, auto grading and personal and shareable workspaces were all key elements.
How does Coding Rooms mesh with the workshop model OES is evolving?
“We give our instructors ownership of their workshops to make the call with what’s happening with their students,” says Brooke. Instructors were empowered to decide whether to push forward or stop and review material in real-time. Live video conferencing embedded in the platform is key to achieving this.
“When you facilitate a presentation in a typical webinar you can’t read your learners,” explains Brooke. “You can’t rely on body language cues; you don't notice the frowns and fidgeting. Being able to see that really helps our instructors moderate the sessions more effectively. With the video conferencing in Coding Rooms, they’re not just talking at their learners, they’re engaging with them online.”
And with everything on one platform, adds Brooke, “instructors can work with the actual code to demonstrate their lessons, while learners can follow along. You don’t have to have multiple applications running at the same time.”
Auto-grading is another game changer. In some programs, learners have been completing assignments on their own local IDEs and sending their work to instructors for review, a tedious and time-consuming exercise. To combat this, OES has set up model solutions in Coding Rooms that look at a learner’s code and map the differences to provide automatic feedback and update instructors. But OES is going even further.
“Coding Rooms has additional unit tests that can check a number of things,” explains Brooke, “not only if your code matches the model solution. If it doesn’t run this way, does it run another way? There’s not just one way of coding. We let the students code the way they want to, and then assess it. That’s really powerful and something we’re working to put into effect.”
OES is implementing Coding Rooms to function side-by-side with its learning management systems. “Coding Rooms is developing a ‘learning technology interoperability’ API for us to push grading and other data directly into the LMS,” says Brooke. This allows OES to maintain their system of record at the same time they’re transforming their instructional capabilities.
So how is Coding Rooms faring so far with OES’s most important constituents? “The feedback we get from our coding students is that they’re really enjoying the workshop sessions in the platform!”
Coding Room benefits for OES: