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An Online Homework Generation And Assessment Tool For Linear Systems

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Capstone & Educational Resource Developments

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.194.1 - 10.194.12



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Paper Authors

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Yong Yang

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Andrew Bennett

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Steve Warren

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

An Online Homework Generation and Assessment Tool for Linear Systems Yong Yang, M.S., Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering Andrew Bennett, Ph.D., Department of Mathematics Steve Warren, Ph.D., Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, 66506, USA


Of the students enrolled in upper-level Electrical & Computer Engineering (EECE) courses at Kansas State University (KSU), a percentage consistently struggles with concepts from earlier calculus and differential equations courses. This raises issues regarding how much mathematical knowledge students retain and how they transfer this knowledge to follow-on courses. In recent semesters, the KSU Department of Mathematics has utilized automated online tools to generate homework problems and assess student performance. This paper describes an extension of that approach to the Linear Systems course in the KSU Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. This online suite utilizes PHP, HTML, Java, and PostgreSQL to generate and assess homework problems in the areas of complex numbers, signals, transient response, Fourier series, and Fourier transforms. Features and benefits of this approach include a visually appealing user interface, custom problem sets for each student, online help, immediate score feedback, problem solutions, practice problems, and the opportunity for a student to rework categories of problems until they receive their desired score. From an assessment standpoint, the resulting database offers opportunities to correlate module scores with scores received on other online modules, projects, or exams, where scores can be aggregated or associated with specific problems. Cross-semester comparisons can also be performed. Additional parameters such as completion date/time, the number of attempts per module, the location of the student’s machine, and the time required to complete an exercise provide a rich information set for understanding student work habits. The ultimate goal is to close the assessment loop and improve course content based upon previous semester analyses. Early surveys and anecdotal results indicate that student response is generally positive but is subject to software problems typical of a new software release.


Linear Systems (EECE 512) is an upper-level engineering course taken by Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering students at Kansas State University (KSU). This course addresses the mathematical and computational tools necessary to analyze signals in both the time and frequency domains. While calculus and differential equations courses are prerequisites for Linear Systems, a considerable percentage of the students enrolled in this class consistently struggles with concepts that rely upon these mathematical foundations. This raises issues of how much students actually learn in their earlier mathematics courses and what portion of that knowledge they retain as they transition into their upper-level engineering courses.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Yang, Y., & Bennett, A., & Warren, S. (2005, June), An Online Homework Generation And Assessment Tool For Linear Systems Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14859

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