In this paper we present two software packages, SimLIST and SimRECUR, that are designed for use in the closed-lab settings. SimLIST is for teaching concepts about the linked-list data structure, and SimRECUR for recursion. Both SimLIST and SimRECUR were field tested to investigate their effectiveness in helping students understand the respective concepts. In addition, surveys were carried out to obtain students' feedback on the design of software, lab activity manuals, and the worksheets. An experimental design was also conducted to compare the learning effects of the closed-lab teaching using SimLIST and SimRECUR vs open-lab teaching in which students were given out-of-class assignments instead. The statistical findings showed that the closed-lab group learned more effectively than the open-lab group. Besides, the majority of students who had hands-on experiences with our lab software considered both SimLIST and SimRECUR as very helpful learning aids.
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