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Concepts Learning Using Technology For Rapid Feedback And Student Engagement

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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

Technology and Learning

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.338.1 - 10.338.8



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Paper Authors

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Jennifer Kadlowec

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Dexter Whittinghill

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John Chen

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

Concepts Learning Using Technology for Rapid Feedback and Student Engagement John C. Chen,* Jennifer A. Kadlowec,* and Dexter C. Whittinghill Departments of *Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ

Abstract In this project our goal is to improve student learning in the foundation mechanics course Statics. In this case improved learning is defined as knowledge retention (durability) and knowledge application in a different environment (transferability). We aim to do this by providing rapid feedback to students of their understanding of key concepts and skills being presented. The feedback system acts as the focal point and catalyst to encourage students to assist each other in correcting misconceptions or deepening each other’s understanding of the topic or skill at hand. Furthermore, the system allows the professor to assess the students’ level of comprehension (or misconception) in a just-in-time fashion, and thus guiding his or her pacing and coverage of the material. The rapid feedback is enabled through wireless-networked handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs) or flashcards. In the first two years of the study, we have implemented the system in two sections of Statics using a crossover design of experiment, where one section receives the rapid feedback ‘treatment’ (i.e., use of the PDAs) while the other (the ‘control’ group) receives rapid feedback on the exact same topics, but only through the use of flashcards. After a predetermined period, the sections swap their feedback treatment. Several swaps are achieved during the course, and in this manner each student acts as his or her own experimental control to assess the effectiveness of the treatment. This paper focuses on our experimental methods, the statistical analysis of data, and results of student learning and student satisfaction from the first implementation.

Introduction Core engineering courses, such as Statics, are comprised of key concepts and skills that students need to master in order to succeed in follow-on courses. Students must comprehend these concepts at sufficient depth (as opposed to rote memorization of procedure) and transfer this understanding to other courses and contexts. In this multiyear project, our hypothesis is that such learning is facilitated in an active, peer-assisted environment in which the students are provided frequent and rapid feedback of their state of learning.

Background and Motivation Providing feedback to students of their current level of understanding of concepts is critical for effective learning. It is also important for the professor. This feedback is typically realized through homework sets, quizzes and tests. All of these techniques, however, suffer the faults of being too slow, too late, and too tedious to apply frequently. Freeman and McKenzie1 discuss several issues that inhibit better student learning in higher education. For students, there is a lack of individual feedback on learning; few opportunities for dialogue to improve learning; and a feeling that the subject is impersonal. From the faculty members’ perspective, the difficulties lie in knowing what students are really learning, providing individualized feedback, addressing

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

Kadlowec, J., & Whittinghill, D., & Chen, J. (2005, June), Concepts Learning Using Technology For Rapid Feedback And Student Engagement Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14385

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