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This paper describes how a new Moodle module, called CTPracticals, is applied to the teaching of the practical content of a basic computer organization course. In the core of the module, an automatic verification engine enables it to process the VHDL designs automatically as they are submitted. Moreover, a straightforward modification of this engine would make it possible to extend its application to other programming languages. The module provides students with real-time knowledge of the state of their work by their accessing the result of the automatic assessment or feedback messages. Teachers have a constant global view of the status of their class and have available multiple options such as sending feedback messages to students, obtaining statistics, launching additional verifications in batch, and so on. Likewise, the module substantially improves some organizational aspects, and its design may help teachers to encourage teamwork. Its use partially frees teachers from certain routine work, saving time that can be devoted to teaching objectives and tutoring activities.
Date of Publication: May 2011