ANU is a beneficiary in the recently announced 2020 ‘KENET Innovation Grants in the use of Education Technology in Engineering and Computer Science Education’.

KENET – Kenya Education Network Trust is the National Research and Education Network; a not-for-profit membership body incorporated to support research and education institutions. 

This latest award is a continuation of long term linkage between ANU’s Teaching Innovation Research programs and the highly competitive KENET grants. The grant has come at an opportune time given the reality of education in the COVID-19 era in which an innovative shift in the mode of learning and content delivery is not only necessary but also urgent.

ANU’s grant-winning bid comes from Moses Karani (PI), Dr. Obuhuma, and Victoria Mukami; and the trio’s proposed study is titled “Automated Artificial Language Learning Using Compiler Reverse Engineering”. The study seeks to develop and validate a conceptual design based on bloom’s taxonomy that can be used to make certain that learning objectives, activities, and assessments in a programming class are designed to cover all domains. 

The study will implement a comprehensive auto assessment approach based on a conceptual design using some existing tools as well as a custom-made tool that ensures varying student submissions are accepted and not rejected like is the case with model solution-based tools. The custom tool will be developed using compiler construction techniques to auto-generate a solution compiler by reverse engineering a model solution and expanding on it using the Backus Naur Form(BNF) grammar of a language. The outputs will be open for upscaling and replication by institutions of higher learning nationwide, the project’s ultimate goal. The automated assessment custom tool and the content will be made available either as a stand-alone web application or integrated into any popular Learning Management Systems such as Moodle, canvas, or blackboard.

The project seeks to change how practical programming assessments within universities are conducted. This will be a game-changer within the Computer Science field as it will awaken the student’s interest in programming and enable lecturers and instructors to focus more on empowering the students. Additionally, the project aims to break the negative perception that students have toward programming languages and will lead to more innovators and programmers.  

This project exemplifies ANU’s commitment to knowledge advancement through research and to lead boldly in education for the 21st century. Mr. Karani, the PI has also participated in a previous KENET grant that ANU won in 2019.