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James Heather

Page history last edited by Russ Law 13 years, 9 months ago

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Enhancing the Student Experience in learning computer programming


This Fellowship enhanced the learning experience for Computing (and other) students learning to programme, by providing a forum in which students from all over the world could interact on interesting and clearly defined programming tasks relating to turn-based strategy games. The project  centred on creation of a web site that acts as a host for various two-player turn-based strategy games. The games range in their complexity from Tic-Tac-Toe at the simplest end through to Draughts or even Chess at the high end. Students are able to download a small package for any of the supported games, and use it to develop their own program that can act as a player for the game: the input to the program is a board position, and the program outputs the move it wishes to play. The students then upload their programs to the web site. The web site keeps track of the uploaded ‘player’ programs, and then hosts games between the programs, constructing a database of all the games, and a league table to show how each program is performing. Students can watch live games that their programs are playing, and, if appropriate, improve and resubmit their programs, either individually or in collaboration with others.


James presented a successful workshop for his Faculty and other colleagues in the summer of 2008. There are hopes that this can be repeated for other audiences. For more information, contact



Interview with James on the British Computer Society's adoption of James's ideas for a prestigious student competition - March 2009


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