teaching machines

ITiCSE 2016 Rejection

I submitted two things to ITiCSE 2016: a paper on Madeup and a proposal for working group to make games for computer science education. The paper was rejected. Though ITiCSE is usually a little more forgiving of papers that don’t have a lot of data collection and rigorous experimental analysis, I didn’t include enough. I’m afraid I’m not too disappointed, because the working group proposal was accepted, and one acceptance is more than enough to keep me busy.

Title: Madeup: a Programming Language for Making Making Computational

Status: Reject


Reviewer 1

Summary

A well written and presented paper on an interesting topic area. The concept of the Madeup language presented in the paper as a facilitator for encouraging the use of 3D printing/making participation is laudable. Topic that the educational community will find refreshing.

Strengths

Section 2 defines the context of use for the Madeup Language and the teams desire to push it forward. Section 3 gives a good overview of the language.

Author Comments

Well written and presented paper. Balance of the paper slightly skewed towards Section 3, a bit more discussion of the topics presented in section 2 would help reinforce the educational underpinning. Stating the intended age range for Madeup would help to put the complexity of the maths/examples into context. K8 & K12 are mentioned but only as part of Section 2. Possible typo in Section 2.2 “required more advanced program solving …”, should program be problem? A very interesting paper and I’d definitely like to try using the software with a student cohort.


Reviewer 2

Summary

This paper describes a programming language for making models of objects that can potentially be printed by 3D printers.

Strengths

The strength of the submission stems from the discussion of the correlation between spatial cognition and embodied learning and being able to do well on STEM-related tasks. This helps set an appropriate educational context for the language described.

Author Comments

While the description of the language is interesting, there is no discussion of it’s use in an actual education setting. For example, some discussion of an actual class taught with this language would be very helpful. How well did students understand the language? How well did using Madeup correlate with or improve the students’ performance on other STEM-related tasks.

The initial discussion of the correlation of spatial cognition and embodied learning to STEM performance is not then tied back to the actual use of Madeup. Having such a discussion based on use of the language in an education setting would make the paper much stronger and more appropriate for a CS education conference.


Reviewer 3

Summary

The paper presents a language called “Madeup”. It is a language for modeling a 3D object, which may be materialized using a 3D printer.

Strengths

Nowadays 3D printers attract much attention. The authors’ language Madeup acts as a tool to help students give a concrete shape to their ideas. Students can also learn about programming concepts while modeling shapes.

Author Comments

Who is the intended target user of Madeup? A college student intending to major in computer science, a high school student enrolled in an elective course in programming, a designer of some sort, or more general audience? You may rephrase this question in another way. What is the purpose of Madeup?
It is difficult to evaluate the strength of a new proposal unless its purpose is clear.

If the language is intended for some classroom usage, responses from students are indispensable.


Reviewer 4

Summary

The paper describes a DSL (domain-specific language) named Madeup for describing 3D models (suitable for 3D printing) in a programmatic way. An overview of the DSL constructs is presented in detail, illustrated with several examples. Some implementation issues are also discussed.

Strengths

  • A novel DSL for 3D models aiming at pedagogical purposes.
  • Simple language constructs, which are fairly well-described in the paper.

Author Comments

Despite describing what can be done with the DSL, the major weakness of the paper is that it does not discuss in any way the usability/suitability of the DSL from the perspective of its intended users (students). The authors could report, even if in a light way, experiences of having students (or other types of user) using the language.

Minors:
  • using “making making” in the titlesounds awkward: deliberate or typo?
  • Sec3.3: it is stated that the language is “fully-featured imperative” supporting a “functional style of programming”. to me this sounds strange, because in functional style objects have no mutable state. perhaps the authors meant “declarative style”.

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