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Effective Interaction With The Computer: Observations And Models From An Eight Year Experience

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.231.1 - 3.231.7

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Mahmood Nahvi

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

Session 2432 TS/6

Effective Interaction With The Computer: Observations And Models From An Eight-Year Experience

Mahmood Nahvi, Professor Electrical Engineering Department California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, California


1. Summary 2. Introduction 3. Examples 4. Conclusion 5. References

1. Summary

Asynchronous and web-based learning networks heavily rely on human interaction with computers. This includes use of computer modules for concept development, tutorials, and simulation. The present paper introduces examples of computer modules designed and created for maximum learning effectiveness. The smallest unit of interaction is defined as a mini-run. A mini-run results in an action bite. Cost and utility functions are suggested for action bites based on total computer response time, burden on the sensory-motor system of the user, and effectiveness of the action bite in learning. It is suggested that for maximum interaction and minimum effort the modules i) be specialized for the desired capability as opposed to carrying extensive flexibility, ii) have interaction speed close to the real-time operation of the physical system, and iii) use open-loop movement of finger and hand as opposed to closed sensory-motor loops. Three examples of exploratory electric circuit computer modules, in which basic elements of interaction loops are structured for maximum learning effectiveness, are presented.

2. Introduction

In asynchronous learning and web-based environments computer modules play an important role in helping students to develop concepts, practice, simulate and design. Efficient interaction with the computer plays a critical role in learning effectiveness. In this paper we discuss a user's interaction with the computer in a simulation environment. The conclusions apply to other cases such as presentations, tutorials, design projects and laboratory supplements.

Digital simulators are familiar tools in the undergraduate teaching and learning environments. In both inanimate and live forms, simulators are used as tools for design, concept development, demonstrations, and as supplements to laboratory experiments. In a laboratory environment their speed of operation and input-output capability place them on a par with analog simulators and their programming flexibility gives them an advantage.

Nahvi, M. (1998, June), Effective Interaction With The Computer: Observations And Models From An Eight Year Experience Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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