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Engagement in Interactive Web-based Courseware as Part of a Lecture-based Course and the Relation to Student Performance

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

New Teaching Methods in Mechanics

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.485.1 - 24.485.14



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Paper Authors

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Paul S. Steif Carnegie Mellon University

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Anna Dollar Miami University

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Engagement in Interactive Web-based Courseware as part of a Lecture based Course and the Relation to Student PerformanceInteractive web-based learning materials offer the potential for enhanced learning outsidethe classroom, especially in comparison with traditional homework. Aside from thespecifics of any particular courseware, the conditions under which they are used may playa significant role in student learning. Here we study the effect of the conditions of use fora particular suite of courseware for statics. This suite, which covers most topics of statics(2D), currently consists of 20 modules, akin to chapters, with each module based on a setof carefully articulated learning objectives. The modules contain expository text,diagrams, and simulations, with, most significantly, a large number of interactiveexercises. The exercises offer hints and feedback, thereby providing extensive formativeassessment to students. These materials were originally conceived of and developed withan independent learner in mind.But these web-based learning materials have also been blended into an instructor-led,lecture-based statics courses. Furthermore, the materials have been blended using eithera “flipped classroom” format and in a traditional format. In the flipped format, studentsare given an assignment to use the web-based materials prior to a topic being covered inlecture. Initial exposure outside of class typically leads to learning of basic ideas by somestudents, although they remain with questions or uncertainties regarding more complex orsubtle ideas. Class time, which can offer opportunities for deeper student-instructorinteractions, can then be used, for example, to address students’ remaining questions andmore complex or interesting applications. In the traditional format, students receive a firstexposure to a topic in lecture; thereafter, students are assigned use of the correspondingweb-based materials. Given that the materials are quite extensive, with many exercises, itremains an open question as to how much to assign. The same approach was taken inboth formats, flipped and traditional: students are only required to complete an end ofmodule quiz, which they are graded upon on. The activities within each module prior tothe quiz, which are far greater in number than the questions on the quiz, are not graded;rather students choose from them as they see fit to learn the material. In many cases, thewithin-module activities address the material more deeply than is tested by the end ofmodule quiz.This paper reports on the student usage of materials and comparisons with performance.In addition, we report on findings from students surveyed on their motivations forengaging in the materials and benefits they believe accrued from that usage.Keywords: web-based courseware, flipped classroom, interactive learning, Statics  

Steif, P. S., & Dollar, A. (2014, June), Engagement in Interactive Web-based Courseware as Part of a Lecture-based Course and the Relation to Student Performance Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20376

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