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Benefits of webcasts "Muddy Points"

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2019 Pacific Southwest Section Meeting


California State University, Los Angeles , California

Publication Date

April 4, 2019

Start Date

April 4, 2019

End Date

April 6, 2019

Conference Session

PSW Section Meeting Papers - Disregard start and end time - for online paper access only

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Pacific Southwest Section Meeting Paper Submissions

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Jean-michel I. Maarek University of Southern California

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Jean-Michel Maarek is professor of engineering practice and director of undergraduate affairs in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. His educational interested include engaged learning, student assessment, and innovative laboratories

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The “muddy points” (MPs) is a formative classroom assessment technique used to identify difficulties students have with course material and provide timely remediation. Originally, the MPs were identified from student-filled index cards collected at the end of class. Modern variations use entry fields on course websites and students’ email messages. We adapted the MP technique to clarify using short webcasts misunderstandings identified from students’ questions and incorrect answers on formative quizzes.

The “Medical Electronics” course at our institution is offered in the Spring semester (~50 students/cohort, 40% seniors). A flipped classroom approach is used with instructor-generated video lessons and classroom meetings dedicated to group problem-solving. A quiz is administered at the end of each topic covered (6 - 7 quizzes/semester). Summative assessment comprises a midterm and a final exam. All tests use the objective question format. MPs were identified from student questions and from quiz problems which a large fraction of students answered incorrectly. For each MP, a 3-5 min narrated webcast was developed and posted on the learning management system (LMS) Each webcast presented the problem, a conceptual approach to the solution contrasted with the student mistakes, and a numerical solution. The LMS recorded if students watched the MP webcasts. We examined 3 questions: 1) whether the students accessed the MPs; 2) the association between the number of accessed MPs and performance on summative exams; 3) the performance difference between students who had accessed an MP and those who had not when a question addressed in an MP was repeated in an exam.

Fourteen MP webcasts were produced in the semester. Eleven webcasts associated with course material presented before Spring recess (week 10) were viewed by 65% students. The three webcasts developed after spring recess were viewed by 42% students. In part, misconceptions addressed in the initial webcasts were rooted out, decreasing the viewership and need for additional webcasts. The approach of the end of the semester also played a role in the reduced viewership after spring recess. Juniors accessed the webcasts more than seniors (8.2 vs. 6.6; NS). The number of MP webcasts viewed was correlated (r = 0.44; p < 0.01) with the score on summative exams. Students who accessed ≥ 10 webcasts had a summative exam score that was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than that of the students who accessed ≤ 4 webcasts. For exam questions previously addressed in an MP, students who had watched the MP answered correctly 74 ± 44 % of the time. Students who had not watched the webcast answered correctly 64 ± 48 % of the time (p < 0.05).

We conclude that MP webcasts are useful learning complements that help students clarify difficult concepts and create a permanent record enriched by computer simulations and visualization. Students access the MPs sufficiently frequently to justify the preparation time and effort. Students who watch the MP webcasts obtain higher scores on summative exams and do better when answering exam questions previously addressed in the webcasts.

Maarek, J. I. (2019, April), Benefits of webcasts "Muddy Points" Paper presented at 2019 Pacific Southwest Section Meeting, California State University, Los Angeles , California. 10.18260/1-2--31815

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