User Friendly Authoring Languages: An Alternative Approach,
GRUMMAN AEROSPACE CORP BETHPAGE NY
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Two general types of programming languges have been developed for computer based educational systems. The first type of language, which is patterned after such high order languages as PASCAL or FORTRAN, provides great programming flexibility. However, its structured, syntactical constructs require either that an experienced programmer be involved in lesson generation or that instructional personnel become skilled in sound programming techniques. To avoid these problems, the second type of language was developed. It allows instructional personnel to generate on-line instructional materials without acquiring sophisticated programming skills. This second category of languages is often thought of as being user friendly. They serve very well for many applications, but their use has not been without problems. This paper describes the OMEGSA authoring system, a lesson authoring approach that provides instructional personnel with the positive features of both of the above language types. The paper first relates some basic facts about computer systems in general, and then discusses the various aspects of user friendliness in the context of educational programming. It then describes and evaluates both the traditional and OMEGA approaches to user friendly authoring.