Open Education Project Spotlight: Computer Science’s Saeed Mirjalili

In July 2020, Saeed Mirjalili was awarded one of three inaugural Langara Open Education Grants. The grants provide Langara instructors with $1,500 to help further open education projects on campus.

An instructor in Langara’s Department of Computing Science & Information Systems since April 2016, Saeed proposed to develop a robust practice test bank for CPSC 1045: Introduction to Web Programming, which enrolls approximately 576 students annually. “Students can’t learn programming from reading a textbook,” Saeed explains. “It requires practice. You have to practice, practice, then practice some more.”

During his fall 2020 NID term, Saeed created 360+ practice questions, covering an array of programming languages and concepts. The modules are scaffolded, increasing in difficulty as students proceed through the content. Saeed plans to contribute additional questions to the test bank over time.

In Saeed’s experience, test banks provided by commercial publishers fall short in a number of ways. They often lack the depth required to help students develop deep understanding of programming concepts. Moreover, they frequently lack immediate feedback mechanisms that allow students to learn from their missteps in real time –a feature that Saeed was sure to incorporate into his own test bank.

Saeed’s test bank currently resides in Brightspace. In keeping with the spirit of open education, it is free for all Langara CPSC instructors to use in their teaching. After a pilot phase, he will explore ways to share the questions he developed with other post-secondary Computer Science instructors in B.C. and beyond.

The selection committee was struck by the scale of Saeed’s project and his dedication to providing students with affordable, accessible, and high-quality learning materials. Saeed observes that the transition to online learning necessitated by the current public health crisis has quickened the pace of learning. His test bank will help Langara computer science students succeed in this new, and sometimes challenging, environment.

Please join Open Langara in congratulating Saeed on a job well done!

For more information about the supports provided by Open Langara, contact

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