This thesis report describes the design and implementation of a prototype Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS), intended to assist students of the German language. Very early in the study of a foreign language, the student is faced with the difficulties of sentence construction. Not only are there numerous rules and combination to deal with, but it is difficult to verify attempts when the teacher is unavailable. Individual words can be looked up in a dictionary, but the student must often rely on stumbling across a sentence of similar construction in order to verify a trial sentence. A variety of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) tools have been developed. Many have been criticized for not being user friendly, containing material which does not match the course curriculum, being inflexible, or being just plain in correct. The prototype system developed for this thesis experiments with several characteristics - an object-oriented design approach, a masking technique using dynamically built patterns to bridge the gap between hard-coded and full artificial intelligence approaches, and a C++ implementation. It attempts to draw on past failures, as well as past successes. The system described here provides a means for practicing sentence construction, with interactive diagnosis and feedback. A phrase or sentence is presented to the student for translation. The response is then checked for correctness. If the answer is incorrect, the student is given the option of trying again, receiving increasingly more specific hints, or having the system display the response it was expecting.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Intelligent tutoring systems; Computer-assisted instruction; German language--Computer-assisted instruction; Language and languages--Computer-assisted instruction
Department, Program, or Center
Computer Science (GCCIS)
Staffan, Kenneth E., "An Intelligent tutoring system for the German language" (1993). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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