Good Examples

Looking at the Hall of Fame AVs is a good start. These are all popular with their users. Most importantly, they clearly illustrate their topic. Many of them go beyond a passive presentation of the material. For example, the TRAKLA entries have users practice the algorithm being covered by manipulating a data structure directly. While still passive, Algorithms in Action visualizations allow the user to control the level of detail for the visualization by controlling the pseudocode level of detail. Most good visualizatoins are especially good for some use: lecture aide or closed (self-study) lab, for example. The trend in AVs seems to be to provide a complete teaching module, integrating explanatory text with the visualization. This is in contrast with, for example, a stand-alone visualization of a particular algorithm with no explanation. The reason why integrated tutorial and visualization is generally preferred is because with only a visualization, the explanation must come from some other souce (perhaps a textbook) that might well be incompatable to a greater or lesser degree with the visualization. It is often easier for an instructor to buy into a complete presentation for a given algorithm rather than fit a visualization into the context of other supporting content.