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Connecting students' homework to their participation in a course-based social network

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Computing Technology Session 3

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

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Paper Authors


A Gavrin Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Andy Gavrin is Associate Professor and Chair of Physics at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), and a member of IUPUI’s University College faculty. He is a co-developer of the Just-in-Time Teaching method, and an award-winning teacher. He is a member of the Project Kaleidoscope 21st Century Faculty, and of Indiana University’s Faculty Colloquium for Excellence in Teaching. His research is focused on the use of technology in science education. He received his BS in physics from MIT, and his MS and PhD in physics from The Johns Hopkins University. He joined the faculty of IUPUI in 1995.

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Rebecca Susan Lindell

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Rebecca Lindell, PhD, is a former physics faculty member at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville*. With over 20 years experience in the fields of Physics and Astronomy Education Research (PER), Rebecca is an award winning curriculum developer and has received national recognition for her redesign of her introductory astronomy course at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She has redesigned or assisted in the redesign of numerous physics courses at every level. She founded Tiliadal STEM Education in 2014 to allow her to continue to contribute to the field of Physics and Astronomy Education Research. Rebecca received her BS in Physics from Purdue University and her MS and PhD in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln where she specialized in Physics and Astronomy Education Research.

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This paper presents a comparison between students’ efforts on traditional problem sets and their participation in a course-focused social media platform. The setting for our efforts was an introductory calculus-based mechanics class enrolling approximately 150 students, most of whom were engineering majors. We quantify their effort in terms of time logged in to the online homework system, and assignments skipped. We quantify their outcomes by scores. The social media site itself measures participation, using an algorithm that includes posts, completion of surveys, comments on other students’ posts, and other actions. We find that students’ homework effort and outcomes are both correlated with their activity in the social network. We do not suggest a causal connection; rather, our conclusion is that participation in the social network is a form of engagement with the class comparable to traditional measures of engagement such as attendance and completion of assignments.

Gavrin, A., & Lindell, R. S. (2017, June), Connecting students' homework to their participation in a course-based social network Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28070

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