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Development and Implementation of a Tablet-based Exam App for Engineering Courses

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Computer-Based Tests, Problems, and Other Instructional Materials

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.512.1 - 26.512.13



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Paper Authors


Kurt C. Gramoll University of Oklahoma

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Prof. Kurt Gramoll is currently the Hughes Centennial Professor of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. He has previously taught at the University of Memphis and Georgia Tech. He graduated from Virginia Tech with a PhD in Engineering Science and Mechanics in 1988. His research includes development and implementation of educational technologies for engineering education and training that utilize simulations.

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Development and Implementation of a Tablet-based Exam App for Engineering CoursesFor large enrollment courses, such as Statics, Dynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Solid Mechanics,Thermodynamics, the use of computers (laptops and tablets) in the classroom can save instructortime. However, there are numerous problems with computer-based exams, especially when thestudents are allowed to access online course materials (eBook, homework, etc). Previously, theauthor used student-supplied laptops for web-based exams in the classroom, but this has becomeproblematic over the years due to the increased sophistication of communication software(Twitter, Facebook, Skype, SnapChat, etc.). It is no longer reasonable to expect the instructorand TAs to be able to monitor student laptops during exams. To solve this issue, android-basedtablets with special apps have been developed and implemented into two fundamentalengineering courses, Fluid Mechanics and Solid Mechanics (Mechanics of Materials). The paperexamines the selection process for the Android-based tablets and how the three apps weredeveloped. The first app, "examApp" permits the student to access the online text and it recordsthe student's choices. It has numerous security features that limit access to the exam only on thetablets provided and only during the test time. All graphics are vector-based so they are crisp onhigh resolution screens. The second app, "examAdmin" gives the instructor and TAs real-timeinformation about the exam while in progress. This includes scores, percent correct for a givenproblem, students activity, graphs, and direct communications to all students. The third app,"eBookApp", allows the student access to the online eBook used for the class. However, itblocks the student from other online web site or material. The Android operating system itselfwas modified to limit access to standard apps like email, app stores, social networks, and evenbrowsers. The work determined that Abobe AIR development framework allows relatively easydevelopment of web and mobile apps when compared to native programming or HTML5 withJavaScript. AIR also avoids programming the same app three times (web browsers, Android andiOS). The successful results (and lessons learned) using tablets for in-class testing for multipleengineering courses are presented.

Gramoll, K. C. (2015, June), Development and Implementation of a Tablet-based Exam App for Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23850

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