The software choice for a practice about algorithms flowcharts making
Medical students mast understand the concept of algorithm. There are three main ways for algorithm writing and representation. The main and most convenient is the well-known flowcharts. Therefore, we need special software for creating flowcharts of medical algorithms of diagnosis and treatments.
The most common recommendations are about using Microsoft solutions: “insert figures” button/command in Microsoft Word, or Microsoft Visio for professional cases. Also there are large number software utilities for building UML diagrams.
Our goal is selecting the standard for flowcharts and finding good software. There are 4 alternative flowchart rules: standard ISO 5807:1985, Dragon-schemas, and two versions of Unified Modeling Language (ISO/IEC standards). The merits of the new solutions are actual only for large and complex algorithms and it takes more time for learn and use. Unfortunately, we have only two practical classes by course syllabus. So we select simplified version of old standard ISO 5807: 1985.
The requirements mast be defined before making choice about software. There are several basic requirements. Application launch on the workstations instead of server or cloud. By this way we will not dependent of quality of internet or LAN services. Compatibility with most popular versions of Windows. Availability as freeware and we need rights for installing multiple copies. Regular updating software versions. Functionality and usability, the "intuitive interface."
By this set of requirements, we select “yEd Graph Editor” software, because it is easy to learn and use, have all of diagram shapes, can save and export results, and it is freeware.
Students understand how to make the base actions in this environment in a few minutes - after the first demonstration. Now there is enough time for drawing a complex algorithm flowchart during the lesson. And student have time for making corrections and update flowchart after teacher checking.
We used this software over the last two years and we can recommend to use "yEd Graph Editor" in the case of limited time for practical classes. Key words: algorithm, computer science, flowcharts, software.
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yEd Graph Editor. http://www.yworks.com/yed