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A Scalable Online Platform for Evaluating and Training Visuospatial Skills of Engineering Students

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Engineering Design Graphics Division Technical Session 3: Spatial Visualization

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

Page Count

15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27509

Download Count

52

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Paper Authors

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Ziang Xiao University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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I am a Phd student from the computer science department at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My primary research interest is in human-computer interaction.

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Yuqi Yao University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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I am an undergraduate student and research assistant at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I am interested in educational technology and developmental psychology.

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Chi-Hsien Yen University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Sanorita Dey University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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I am a PhD candidate at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My research interest is to design and build interactive interfaces to better assist learning by drawing theories from the area of interactive learning.

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Helen Wauck University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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I am a Computer Science PhD student in the field of Human-Computer Interaction interested in the mechanisms behind learning in video games. My research studies how video games contribute to the development of spatial reasoning skills in children and how game and learning analytics can be used to develop more intelligent hint systems for games. I am an NSF Graduate Research Fellow as of 2016. For more details about my current research projects, check out my website: http://wauck2.web.engr.illinois.edu/

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James M. Leake University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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James M. Leake joined the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems (formerly General) Engineering in August 1999. His educational background includes an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering (1993) from the University of Washington, a B.S. in Ocean Engineering (1980) from Florida Atlantic University, and a B.A. in Art History (1974) from Indiana University. His current research interests include engineering education, integration of CAD/CAE software in the engineering curriculum, building information modeling, spatial visualization, and reverse engineering. Professor Leake’s publications include two books, Engineering Design Graphics: Sketching, Modeling, and Visualization, 2nd edition, published by John Wiley and Sons in 2013, and Autodesk Inventor published by McGraw-Hill in 2004. Prior to coming to Illinois, Leake taught CAD and math courses at UAE University in the United Arab Emirates. He is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, where he served in Tunisia from 1983 until 1986. Leake worked as a naval architect in the Pacific Northwest for 10 years. He is a registered professional engineer in naval architecture in the state of Washington (1990).

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Brian Woodard University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Dr. Woodard received his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011. His Aerospace research interests currently focus on the effects of icing on the aerodynamics of swept-wing aircraft. In engineering education, he is also interested in project-based learning and spatial visualization. He teaches courses at the University of Illinois where he serves as the Director of Undergraduate Programs for the Department of Aerospace Engineering.

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Angela Wolters University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Associate Director, Women in Engineering; Professional Engineer, Illinois

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Wai-Tat Fu University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Wai-Tat Fu is an associate professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). His research focuses on applying theories of cognitive science and human-computer interaction techniques to education. Wai-Tat Fu is the Associate Editor of the ACM Transactions on Intelligent Interactive Systems (TiiS) and the Topics in Cognitive Science journal. He is m the program chair of ACM IUI (Intelligent User Interfaces) 2017, and the general chair of ACM IUI 2019.

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Abstract

Previous research has shown that the visuospatial skills, which refer to a person’s ability to understand visual and spatial relationship among objects, increase the capacity to reason and solve complex problems in the engineering field. Although the impact of training visuospatial skills on engineering education is well documented, there has not been online tools that can scale well to large classes, and help the creation of a large nationwide database to allow comparisons across classes, departments, and universities. The automatic grading feature of the online platform can also help early assessment of spatial skills, which enables early intervention for students who want to pursue a career in engineering before the lack of good visuospatial skills becomes a barrier. In practice, early assessment can customize the flowchart of a student’s course schedules to better prepare them to develop the necessary visuospatial skills before they take courses that have heavy demand on these skills.

In this study, we design and evaluate an innovative online infrastructure which aims to efficiently evaluate the visuospatial skills of a large group of students and help them to improve their visuospatial skills. The infrastructure offers a comprehensive assessment of visuospatial skills with multiple choice questions and free-hand sketching, as well as, exercises that help students to acquire strategies to more effective perform visuospatial problem solving. The data recorded by the infrastructure allow researchers to analyze the responses in details, including error analysis and stroke-by-stroke analysis of sketching behavior. The platform is also capable of keeping track of a student’s response in each test and the performance in courses in order to identify potential difficulties the student may encounter so as to provide assistance as early as possible. This function provides the possibility to build up a large database which allows data analytic techniques to be deployed to identify patterns that are otherwise difficult to achieve with traditional methods, such as paper test. We tested our online infrastructure over 600 students from four entry-level engineering courses in a large mid-west university. The students were from 17 different engineering-related majors or with the intention to pursue an engineering major. The pilot study shows a great potential of our online tools in testing and improving students’ visuospatial skills in large classes.

Xiao, Z., & Yao, Y., & Yen, C., & Dey, S., & Wauck, H., & Leake, J. M., & Woodard, B., & Wolters, A., & Fu, W. (2017, June), A Scalable Online Platform for Evaluating and Training Visuospatial Skills of Engineering Students Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27509

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