Visualization of microprocessor execution in computer architecture courses: a case study at Kabul University
Hedayati, Mohammad Hadi
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Computer architecture and assembly language programming microprocessor execution are basic courses taught in every computer science department. Generally, however, students have difficulties in mastering many of the concepts in the courses, particularly students whose first language is not English. In addition to their difficulties in understanding the purpose of given instructions, students struggle to mentally visualize the data movement, control and processing operations. To address this problem, this research proposed a graphical visualization approach and investigated the visual illustrations of such concepts and instruction execution by implementing a graphical visualization simulator as a teaching aid. The graphical simulator developed during the course of this research was applied in a computer architecture course at Kabul University, Afghanistan. Results obtained from student evaluation of the simulator show significant levels of success using the visual simulation teaching aid. The results showed that improved learning was achieved, suggesting that this approach could be useful in other computer science departments in Afghanistan, and elsewhere where similar challenges are experienced.