1st Workshop on Programming Languages Technology
for Massive Open Online Courses
PLOOC 2013
Friday June 21, Co-Located with PLDI 2013, Seattle,WA


Massive open online courses present a broad set of challenges ranging from automated grading and feedback, automatic problem generation, plagiarism detection, as well as new issues such as how to enhance collaboration and peer tutoring across the web. Formal methods are set to play a big role in this inter-disciplinary endeavor. The goal of this new workshop is to explore how formal methods technologies related to specification, verification, and synthesis can be applied to solve some of these problems in the context of MOOCS, and how these technologies can be leveraged and enhanced in the traditional classroom. We are interested in application of these technologies to a wide variety of subject domains including programming, logic, automata theory, math, and science.

The workshop will bring together researchers from the programming languages community with instructors who have experienced teaching MOOCs. The idea is to highlight some of the pain points that could be addressed by verification and synthesis technologies, and to bring together ideas on how to address these problems. The workshop will include 30 minute talks discussing new work and ideas in this area, as well as invited talks on challenges and open problems and plenty of time for questions and discussion.

Program : (to be held in the Belltown Room of the Red Lion)

9:00-10:00 Scott Rixner: Anatomy of a MOOC (Invited Talk)

10:00-10:30 BREAK

10:30-11:10 Sriram Rajamani: Massively Empowered Classrooms
11:10-11:50 Dan Grossman: Actual Needs and Opportunities Based on Teaching a Programming Languages MOOC

11:50-1:20 LUNCH

1:20-2:00 Rob Miller: Caesar: Crowdsourced Code Review in the Classroom
2:00-2:40 Rishabh Singh: The AutoGrader Tool for Correcting Errors in Programming Assignments

2:40-3:00 BREAK

3:00-3:40 Sanjit Seshia: Meeting the MOOC Challenge for Embedded Systems
3:40-4:40 Sumit Gulwani: Formal methods for computer-aided STEM Education (Closing Talk)

4:40-5:00 BREAK

5:00-6:00 Discussion panel

Invited Talk: Anatomy of a Mooc

Scott Rixner currently co-teaches a successful massive, open, online course on introductory programming. The course, entitled "An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python," is offered on Coursera and is based upon one of the freshman-level introductory computer science courses at Rice. The course uses interactive, 2D games as a vehicle to teach relative beginners the basics of programming. The course has now been run twice, once in the fall of 2012 and once in the spring of 2013. In this talk, Scott will discuss his experience in developing and teaching this course, including some of the lessons he has learned. The talk will also describe the online tools that were developed specifically for the course and which were critical to its success given the large enrollment sizes. The talk  will also discuss some the future plans for these tools and open challenges. 

About the speaker
Scott Rixner is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Rice University. His research focuses on systems software and computer architecture.  He is well versed in the internals of the Python programming language, as he is currently developing a light-weight Python interpreter for embedded systems in his research. He has also taught many of the introductory computer science courses at Rice, including Computational Thinking, Algorithmic Thinking, Introduction to Program Design, and Introduction to Computer Systems. He is the chairman of the curriculum committees for both the Department of Computer Science and the School of Engineering at Rice. Prior to joining Rice, he received his Ph.D. from MIT.

Registration and Venue

Please register for the PLOOC workshop through the PLDI registration system.

The workshop will be held at the Red Lion 5th Avenue. To make a reservation at the conference hotel, The Red Lion Fifth Avenue, at the conference rate of $159 + tax go to: www.seattleredlionfifthavenue.com In the reservations box enter your arrival and departure dates, number of adults and children. Click on the Rate Type box and enter PLDI0615 for the Group Code / Promo Code (Deadline: 18 May). There are many hotels nearby. The Sheraton is about a block and a half away.

Call for Talks

If you have work in this area, or ideas that you'd like to discuss at the workshop, please send a 1-page proposal for a half hour talk. The proposal should include a brief summary of the proposed talk and any relevant references (those can be in a separate page). Proposals for accepted talks will be posted on the workshop website together with the slides for the talk. The deadline for submissions is March 22.

The submission site is now open!

Relevant Dates
Talk Proposal Submission Deadline:   March 22 2013 23:59 EST
Notification of acceptance:   Friday, April 19, 2013
Workshop: Friday, June 21, 2013


Co-Chairs:  Armando Solar-Lezama and Sumit Gulwani
Program Committee:
Josh Berdine Microsoft Research
Swarat Chaudhuri Rice University
Amey Karkare IIT Kanpur
Sriram Rajamani Microsoft Research India
Dawn Song University of California at Berkeley
Kwangkeun Yi Seoul National University