Prof. Dr. Tuna Tuğcu: Remote education enables learning 7/24

You can access the origianl article from this link (in Turkish)

Prof. Tuna Tuğcu, renowned for distance education of computer programming at Boğaziçi University: "Distance education provides 24/7 learning"

Because of the coronavirus epidemic, distance education started in all courses at Boğaziçi University on 6 April. Distance education has been resumed at the primary and secondary levels as well as the higher education institutions in Turkey. Dr. Tuna Tuğcu, professor of Computer Engineering at Boğaziçi University, and his team succeeded in teaching programming to more than 20,000 students in 16 years using the unique system they developed. Thanks to the system developed since 2004, hundreds of students can learn programming interactively at the same time. Prof. Tuğcu stated that online education offers the opportunity to learn 24/7, adding “Online education strengthens both distance education and face-to-face formal education, as it ensures that the content is live and interactive. The system we developed can increase the quality of programming education not only at the university but also at the primary and secondary levels. We have a good example for this.”

2020 Spring term education and training activities at Boğaziçi University are designed to be carried out by distance education methods for 15,692 students enrolled in 33 undergraduate and 67 graduate programs. Prof. Tuğcu, who contributed to the development of online education that started on April 6 and carried the programming courses at the university to distance education in 2004, is an expert in this field. Providing interactive training for hundreds of participants at the same time with the online system developed for "Introduction to Programming" and "Object Oriented Programming" courses. Tuğcu taught programming to over 20,000 students in 16 years. The scientist, who answered the questions of Boğaziçi University Corporate Communication Office by teleconference method, explains distance education and its developed system as follows:


In 2004, we taught the Introduction to Programming course via distance education for the first time. The first generation of the system only provided automatic grading of student responses in C language exams. The web-based second generation system that we passed in 2007 was the first of its kind globally. This system named "Online Compiler", which we developed with the great efforts of Dağhan Dinç, was a system that the students could use at home or at school, and contained sample codes that could be compiled within the lecture notes. In 2013, we developed the third generation “Teaching.Codes” system, which is embedded into the Eclipse development environment that is used extensively in the industry, can work offline or online from the homes or dormitory rooms of the students. In addition to the language C/C ++, Java, Python, Ruby programming languages, we also support popular languages ​​such as NodeJS, Go, Perl, and R. In this system, our students access the course content and at the touch of a button, download the live sample to their computers, transfer it to Eclipse, all done within the same application automatically. Since the system also opens the file and focuses the cursor at the line that the instructor specifies rather than going back and forth between lecture notes and the exercise code and provides handy utilities such as showing/hiding solutions to examples, it avoids distraction of the student and facilitates teaching with increased quality of education.


Teaching.Codes systems also allows hundreds of students to take exams or quizzes simultaneously and automatically grades the answers, enabling the lecturer to find time for research or the university to open courses for hundreds or even thousands of students. In our Introduction Programming course, we give quizzes to 450 students every week. It takes 20 minutes to evaluate the examinations of these 450 students and to generate personalized and highly detailed HTML report cards for each student. With so many quizzes, the pressure of the exams on the students is reduced and spread so that they learn programming better. As the exams are evaluated by the system and all mistakes are shown with the detailed report card, the trust of the students in grading is boosted. We also turn the exams into a learning experience for the student, as we also provide test scenarios for each question during the exam.


I have been working teaching of computer programming remotely for so many years. The third generation system we have developed can also be a good example at primary and secondary education levels as well as the universities. Similar to the case of universities, the quality of education in all primary and secondary schools is not at the same level either. The system we use in programming courses at Boğaziçi University can ensure that the quality of programming is improved and homogeneous throughout the country. We make a good example for this, which deserves to be exploited.


All courses at Boğaziçi University have switched to distance education for the Spring 2020 semester due to the coronavirus outbreak. There may be question marks in the minds of the students and the educators about distance education. I think that the best outcome is to be obtained when online education and face-to-face education are combined. The pause in face-to-face education removed the opportunity to chat with our students during and after lectures. However, we offer our students the opportunity to learn 7/24 through distance education. While face-to-face lectures occur at specific hours, distance learning allow you to study even at 3:00 AM. Distance education can provide valuable opportunities when designed with the right infrastructure and content. I think that the distance education period that started at Boğaziçi University will offer new opportunities to our students.


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