17 November 2021 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Student , Teaching

17 November 2021 - Computer Science undergraduate Samuel Fang Junwei won the geNiUSbooks People’s Choice Award at the inaugural 2021 geNiUSchannel and geNiUSbooks Competition for his entry on the interactive version of Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs - JavaScript edition (SICP JS), an online textbook.

The geNiUSbooks and the geNiUSchannel were established to enhance the educational journeys of NUS students. The geNiUSbooks are interactive ebooks which incorporate multimedia such as videos, 3D objects and hyperlinks, and are also used for note-taking or sharing. The geNiUSchannel is a video sharing portal for sharing educational or informative video vignettes.

The competition was open to all NUS staff and students, with winners announced on 12 November at a virtual ceremony.

Fang won the People’s Choice Award for the geNiUSbooks category after a campus-wide vote, receiving a cash prize of SGD$600 and a Huawei GT2 smart watch.

His interactive version of the SICP JS allows users to play and experiment with programs from within the textbook itself. The textbook is used as part of the Source Academy, an immersive online environment developed by Associate Professor Martin Henz that helps NUS Computing freshmen learn programming skills.

Textbook users also have access to the full suite of tools developed by the Source Academy team, which allows them to visualize data structures and reason about computer programs in an interactive way.

“In the past, readers who wanted to play and experiment with the many program snippets in SICP JS would have had to run their programs in a separate window, taking their focus away from the textbook. The idea for the interactive SICP JS came about as a way to make it as convenient as possible to run programs defined in SICP JS without ever leaving the context of the textbook. This way, readers are more inclined to try out these program snippets for themselves, which helps them understand the material better and keeps them engaged,” explained Fang.

The online textbook was developed by Fang over the summer break. Feedback from students and educators who used the textbook have helped to continually improve it over the semester.

“I also worked closely with Prof Henz, who provided valuable advice and support, and without which this project would not have been possible,” he said.

“The highlight for me was when the project received feedback from an educator based in the United States. It was particularly exciting knowing that the interactive textbook was being used actively by users all over the world! Since then, multiple students and educators both in Singapore and abroad have come forward to contribute to the project in the form of feedback and exercise solutions,” Fang added. “I am happy knowing that the interactive textbook is getting the attention it deserves. I hope that the interactive SICP JS can continue to benefit students for years to come!”

 

Learn more about the interactive version of the SICP JS here.