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Assessing An Instructional Technology Scaffold For Reinforcing Learning Of Probability And Statistics

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

BME Curriculum Development

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.233.1 - 11.233.20

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Paper Authors


Kathy Schmidt University of Texas-Austin

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KATHY J. SCHMIDT is the director of the Faculty Innovation Center for the College of Engineering at the
University of Texas at Austin. In this position, she promotes the College of Engineering’s commitment to finding
ways to enrich teaching and learning. She works in all aspects of education including design and development,
faculty training, learner support, and evaluation.

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Mia Markey University of Texas-Austin

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MIA K. MARKEY is an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. The mission of her Biomedical Informatics Lab is to design cost effective computational medical decision aids that will help physicians better diagnose, treat, and manage cancer. Her primary interest in improving engineering education is the identification of effective strategies for coordinating instructional technologies to reinforce learning.

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

Assessing an Instructional Technology Scaffold for Reinforcing Learning of Probability and Statistics Abstract

In order to facilitate active learning (i.e., student interactions) and emphasize real-world applications in an introductory undergraduate biomedical engineering course on probability and statistics, we have developed a scaffold of multiple instructional technologies. These technologies include the course management system, BlackBoard®, non-linear (hyperlinked) PowerPoint® notes, Classroom Performance System (CPS) technology, and “real-world” MATLAB®-intensive problems. Based on three semesters of student data, we revised the scaffold model and assessed the impact of the component instructional technologies in reinforcing student learning and critical thinking.

1. Introduction

For three semesters we gathered pre- and post-class student survey data, observational data, technology usage data, and classroom performance results in BME 335 (Introduction to Probability, Random Processes, and Statistics.) Students solve homework assignments using the assessment tools within BlackBoard® in addition to using this course management tool for obtaining course notes and announcements. The class structure provides lectures using non-linear (hyperlinked) PowerPoint®, interspersed with active learning activities via Classroom Performance System (CPS). The CPS technology consists of remote controls for each student and a receiver that records student answers to questions posed by the instructor. In smaller groups, students work on “real-world” MATLAB® problems in a computer lab section. In this paper, we will provide assessment results on how these instructional technologies influence students in developing basic content understanding and also in the development of critical thinking and reasoning skills.

Our initial scaffold of instructional technologies was presented at ASEE 2005 [1]. Based on two additional semesters of experience and data, we have revised the scaffold (Figure 1). We experimented with running the computer lab section in both a traditional dedicated classroom and by using a laptop cart system (mobile classroom technology) in a regular classroom. In our experience, the differences between these two formats did not appear to significantly impact student learning. Thus, we revised our conceptual scaffold to eliminate any apparent dependency on the particular computer arrangement used for solving the “real-world” MATLAB® problems. With the assistance of the UT Center for Instructional Technologies, we developed a set of interconnected non-linear PowerPoint® presentations to encourage a flexible lecture style that is responsive to students’ learning needs, help students see the connections between topics, and provide a learner-driven resource for self-study and review. Our first version of the non-linear presentations was developed in spring 2005 through the support of a UT Austin Faculty And Student Teams for Technology (~FAST Tex) grant and deployed for the first time in fall 2005. The hyperlinks were used extensively during the lecture and self-report surveys indicated that students also navigated the course notes using the hyperlinks when reviewing the material outside of class time [2]. Also, surveys from fall 2004 indicated that students did not make a

Schmidt, K., & Markey, M. (2006, June), Assessing An Instructional Technology Scaffold For Reinforcing Learning Of Probability And Statistics Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015