Information About Me
My name is Adam Blank
, and I am currently a PhD student in CSD at Carnegie Mellon University.
I am interested in using technology
, machine learning
and human computation
to improve the way that we teach
computer scientists at the collegiate level.
This interest has taken the form of attempting to use data gathered via the normal running of courses
to drive our decisions as teachers.
I am lucky to be advised by Randy Bryant
Luis von Ahn
Last Fall, I developed and co-taught a new course at
CMU (15-151). 15-151 uses several interesting
pedagogical techniques (peer assessment, group work in lecture, problem-based learning) to teach discrete
mathematics to computer science freshmen.
I can be reached via e-mail at
Research Statement (Download)
This pdf is a one page summary of the research I am currently working on.
15-151: Mathematical Foundations for Computer Science (Fall 2012)
I designed and taught the pilot run of 15-151 at CMU with Klaus Sutner
as a co-instructor and mentor.
I gave a significant number of lectures, managed a course staff of 8 teaching assistants, developed a lot of the new materials, and
designed the interesting pedagogical techniques used in the course. 15-151 is a required, computer science freshman course and had
enrollment of around 120 students.
15-251: Great Theoretical Ideas in Computer Science (Spring 2012)
I was the head teaching assistant for 15-251 at CMU in Spring 2012. I held a recitation for around 40 students, acted as liaison between the
other TAs and professors, held at least 3-4 office hours every week, developed homework assignments, and graded. Two things I did this
semester that I am particularly proud of:
- I developed a well-received assignment LambdaLaTeX in which the students implemented the lambda calculus by writing LaTeX macros.
By the end of the assignment, students were able to program in a similar way to a regular functional language--in LaTeX.
- I held extra "conceptual" office hours every week in which I repeated the topics from lectures for students who were struggling.
These office hours usually were attended by 20-30 students.
15-451: Algorithm Design and Analysis (Spring 2012)
I was a teaching assistant for 15-451 at CMU in Spring 2012.
21-127: Concepts of Mathematics (Fall 2011)
I was a teaching assistant for 21-127 at CMU in Fall 2011.
98-172: Great Practical Ideas for Computer Scientists (Fall 2011)
I designed and taught GPI in the Student College
at CMU and managed a course staff
of four undergraduates. GPI was intended to
help computer science students learn practical
tools and skills (such as version control, how to use a terminal,
and debugging). It also serves as a great way for upperclassmen to communicate important knowledge to CS Freshmen. GPI
had enrollment of around 105 students (almost entirely CS freshmen).
In Fall 2013, GPI will transition to being a CS course (15-131).
15-251: Great Theoretical Ideas in Computer Science (Spring 2011)
I was a teaching assistant for 15-251 at CMU in Spring 2011. Over winter break before the course, I wrote a
new course infrastructure, ColorMyGraph which piloted this semester.
15-211: Fundamental Data Structures and Algorithms (Summer 2010)
I was a teaching assistant for 15-211 at CMU in Summer 2010.
15-251: Great Theoretical Ideas in Computer Science (Spring 2010)
I was a teaching assistant for 15-251 at CMU in Spring 2010.
15-211: Fundamental Data Structures and Algorithms (Fall 2009)
I was a teaching assistant for 15-211 at CMU in Fall 2009. I wrote a new assignment for the
graphs portion of the class this semester in addition to my regular duties as a TA.
A short tutorial on LaTeX intended to help CS freshmen use it to typeset their homework.
A short brain dump of thoughts that might be useful to first time Teaching Assistants.
This is not quite done. It will be finished at some point.
colormygraph.ddt.cs.cmu.edu / colormygraph.com (Link)
This is the course infrastructure that I wrote to support my research in using technology and Computer Science to improve teaching methods. It supports fully running
a course (from assignment submission to grade distribution). It is currently being used in 15-251 and 21-127. In the future, it will most likely expand to other
This is the website for my course 98-172 ("Great Practical Ideas for Computer Scientists") which was first offered in Fall 2011 at Carnegie Mellon University. It has
tutorials on how to do lots of basic (but important!) things in UNIX and how to use tools that computer scientists often need in their daily work.
This site has the handouts that I created for my recitation (H) in 21-127 ("Concepts of Mathematics") in Fall 2011 at Carnegie Mellon University.
This site houses some UNIX and debugging problems that were first used as a midterm in the first run of my course 98-172 ("Great Practical Ideas for Computer Scientists")
at Carnegie Mellon University. The current plan is to add more puzzles and re-write the interface to make it a sustainable website with helpful problems for learning
how to use UNIX and debug programs.
This site has comics that some friends and I wrote in High School. It isn't really being maintained any more.