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Toward Effective Algorithm Visualization Artifacts: Designing for Participation and Communication in an Undergraduate Algorithms Course

Sarah Douglas

Dissertation Committee:
John Stasko (external member from Georgia Institute of Technology)
Chris Wilson
Harry Wolcott (outside member from Department of Anthropology)
Michal Young

I defended on May 17, 1999; I walked on June 12, 1999

To learn more about the dissertation, begin by reading the abstract.

Interested in reading more? Both the entire dissertation, and smaller pieces of the dissertation, are available for download in PDF format:

Item Size Description
Entire Dissertation (PDF) 11.29 MB The entire dissertation in PDF format


Entire Dissertation (Winzipped PDF) 1.62 MB The entire dissertation in PDF format as a WinZip archive, for faster downloading


Prefaratory Pages 898 KB The title page, abstract, acknowledgements, and table of contents
Chapter 1 838 KB Introduction: Introduces the problem and presents an "executive summary" of the solution; read this chapter if you want to get the gist of the dissertation and have only limited time
Chapter 2 181 KB Epistemic Fidelity Theory: Introduces epistemic fidelity theory, illustrates its influence on the design, evaluation, and pedagogic use of algorithm visualization technology, and presents a critique of the theory based on a meta-analysis of past experimental studies
Chapter 3 57 KB Constructivism: An Alternative Theoretical Foundation: Presents constructivist theory as a viable alternative to epistemic fideilty theory, and discusses the implications of both the cognitive and sociocultural versions of the theory for the design, evaluation, and pedagogic use of algorithm visualization technology
Chapter 4 270 KB Ethnographic Studies: Presents a pair of ethnographic studies that explore the sociocultural constructivist approach to using algorithm visualization technology in an undergraduate algorithms course
Chapter 5 53 KB A Framework of Cause and Effect: Draws on the findings of the ethnographic studies to fashion a series of hypotheses regarding the effectiveness of algorithm visualization technology
Chapter 6 2.20 MB Experimental Studies: Proposes a series of experimental studies that explore the hypotheses proposed by the framework of cause and effect, and presents the first experiment in the study, which tested the hypothesis that students who construct their own visualizations will outperform students who view a visualization constructed by an expert
Chapter 7 5.38 MB Prototype Language and System: Presents a prototype language and system, rooted in the framework of cause and effect, that support the construction and presentation of "low fidelity" algorithm visualizations
Chapter 8 62 MB Conclusion: Summarizes the dissertation, elaborates on its contributions, and outlines directions for future research
Appendices A & B 176 KB Present more detailed accounts of the ethnographic studies presented in Chapter 4
Appendices C - G 2.03 MB Present the ethnographic study materials, experimental study materials, experimental data, a summary of the SALSA language, and a sample questionnaire for assessing students' attitudes toward an undergraduate algorithms course
Bibliography 30 KB A list of all the literature cited.


Last modified by C. Hundhausen on Monday, June 23, 2003 14:35:54 -1000