From:                                                      Kelvin Sung []

Sent:                                                        Sunday, November 30, 2008 9:15 PM

To:                                                            John Nordlinger; Lee Dirks


Subject:                                                  RE: Nov 2008: Progress Report on: XNA CS1-Lab Workbook


Re: XNA CS1-Lab Workbook: November 2008 Progress Report


The following is the project progress report for November, 2008. Mainly because of teaching and supervision of student projects, progress of the project is slightly slower than we have hoped. The good news is, we are still on track to complete everything before X’mas. Here are the details:


1.      Workbook progress (XGC1): We are completely done with the tutorial upgrade to the new library! Currently, we are in the midst of developing new step-by-step guide for the library. This effort is about 40-50% done. We will be able to release 1.0 of XGC1 when this step-by-step guide is completed. We hope to complete XGC1 release before Christmas.


2.      XGA: We have completed the porting of all of the XGA assignments over to work with XNACS1Lib! Waiting on the step-by-step guide of XGC1 (from above), we will be able to release 2.0 of XGA at the same time of XGC1 1.0.


3.      Publications:

a.       Communications of the ACM: Kelvin and Mike Zyda has completed and submitted the invited paper. Professor Moshe Vardi, chief editor of CACM has told us that “I will take it from here”. We are waiting on response from CACM.

b.      ItiCSE paper on integrating GameMaker and XNA/C# programming for non-major students. This is paper is progressing well and should be ready for January 2009 ItiCSE deadline.

c.       Cruise Conference paper on results from using XGA in classroom, progressing well should be ready for December deadline.


4.      New (and some existing) Developments:

a.       Strategies for disseminations: the more we understand the situation with CS1/2 courses, the more we realize it is difficult (if not impossible) to introduce non-Java contents into the vast majority of these courses. After pondering and in-depth discussions over this problem we have derived two strategies:

                                                               i.      Continue to push our C#/XNA results: many institutions offer pre-CS1 intro programming courses in the forms of a “CS0” course. Since these are “pre-major” courses, these courses are typically not under the tight control of departmental curriculum committees and the faculty members teaching these courses often have quite a bit of flexibility in choosing the language and environment to convey the concepts. We believe this is an excellent place where we can push adoption for C# and XNA. As a pilot effort in investigating possibilities, we have sent out initial inquires to local 4-year and 2-year (community colleges) institutions, currently we have names of 6 interested parties. We believe we can begin a small scale test project where we can work with these 6 institutions in integrating our game-themed materials into their CS0 classes. When results from this small scale pilot project becomes available, we can then formulate a more national/global adoption.

                                                             ii.      Multi-Lingual Framework: the logical next step in the game-themed introductory programming project is moving towards a multi-lingual framework. Working with local community colleges, we believe we can be very competitive in applying to NSF CCLI or ATE programs.

b.      Verizon Foundation and K-12 education: Verizon Foundation is interested in seeing educational uses of their recent FiOS high-speed internet infrastructure in the Snohomish county. We are interested in seeing how our results can impact middle school science/math classes and building a pipeline for future STEM majors early. We have put together a proposal taking advantage of fast internet support for on-line meetings in developing materials and workshops for middle school teachers based on developing game-themed applications/simulations for their classes. These work will be based on our XGC1 library and thus the applications will run on XBOX 360 and Zune. If we are being consider favorably by the Verizon Foundation, we hope we can engage MSR (and XNA Team?) in discussing potentials for co-funding this project (e.g., by donation of XBOX 360 and Zune units, and/or by co-sponsoring development time).

c.       NSF CPATH  Building Northwest Distributed Computer Science: Kelvin has become a regular participant of this project’s meetings advising colleagues based on our experiences. There is a considerable interests among other CPATH members for the multi-lingual framework (described above).

d.      UW Seattle Autism Center: recently Kelvin was contacted by Dr. Jeff Munson from UW-Seattle’s Autism Center. We are in the very early phase of discussion exploring potentials for collaborations.

e.       Translating XGC1 materials to Chinese: Kelvin has been approached by an independent consultant who is, under contract from Beijing University of Technology (BUT), interested in translating our results into Chinese and in inviting Kelvin to offer a 3-day workshop at BUT. Since there are money involve in this discussion, Kelvin is feeling very lost and do not really know how to response to this. We will wait until the food from Thanksgiving is digested and try to make a logical response.


5.      Vacations: December will be an interesting month where all members on the project group has planned 1-2 weeks’ vacations.  We will ensure progress of the project continues to meet our original plan.