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Ashmun Express: A Mobile-based Study Application for STEM Students

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Computers in Education 5 - Online and Distributed Learning 2

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

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Paper Authors


Tiffanie R. Smith Lincoln University

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Dr. Tiffanie R. Smith is currently an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Lincoln University of PA.  She received her Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from the University of Florida in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering in 2019 . She received her B.S. in Computer Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University in 2013. Her research interests include educational technologies, embodied learning, culturally relevant education, and broadening minority participation in STEM.

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Susan Ellen Safford Lincoln University

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Dr. Safford is currently a full professor in the Biology Department at Lincoln University. She earned her Ph.D. in Reproductive Physiology from the University of Texas at Austin, a M.S. in Fisheries Biology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Southern Mississippi. She teaches General Biology for majors and upper level physiology and anatomy classes. Her research interests include investigating novel membrane receptors for steroid hormones and developing innovative tools and pedagogies to engage STEM students in math application problems in their disciplines.

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Chidera Iguwe

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Mofoluwasho Akinlade

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There has been an increase in the usage of technology in classrooms nationwide, from smart boards to study applications. The dearth of the latter as a part of the curriculum for STEMstudents in higher education and particularly at a historically black university prompted two professors in biology and computer science to develop a mobile application that focuses on math applications in a variety of biological fields.

The prime objective of the mobile app - codenamed Ashmun Express - is to serve as a tool for early career STEM majors, almost all of whom have to take Introductory Biology and ElementaryStatistics to provide them a chance to work on examples, view tutorials, and take quizzes at their leisure to enhance their classroom experience.

Up until Spring 2020, the application was developed and maintained solely as an iOS App, with Swift serving as the primary language as Apple products are common in the educational setting. A recent survey among our students showed that of 26 students in a class in which the app was tested, 17 or 65% used an iPhone or an iPad. Additionally, there are sound development reasons to focus on one platform or another. Unfortunately, there were problems like the absence of tests for classes/methods and refactoring issues for the student developers. Also, users found it difficult to navigate through the app and complained about designs and other minor issues. Ultimately, the project was temporarily halted and a new application is currently being designed and developed with the same objectives. It will only have a different framework and personnel on the project.

The new path for the project includes switching to React Native for cross-platform mobile development and a goal to create a functional product for evaluation for final exam review.This change also follows best practices in app development as described by Wardynski1 and would serve all students with a mobile phone1. Future plans would include creating a Professorfunctionality that helps the professor see the efforts made by the students and assign grades based on work completed in the app.

Smith, T. R., & Safford, S. E., & Iguwe, C., & Akinlade, M. (2021, July), Ashmun Express: A Mobile-based Study Application for STEM Students Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36701

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