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Freedom Of Choice In An Intelligent Tutoring System

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



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Page Numbers

4.271.1 - 4.271.10

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Brian Butz

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

Session 3630

Freedom of Choice in an Intelligent Tutoring System*

Brian P. Butz Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Temple University Philadelphia, PA 19122


An Interactive Multimedia Intelligent Tutoring System (IMITS) is described. IMITS has been constructed to assist students learn difficult portions of three electrical engineering undergraduate courses. The multimedia tutor possesses intelligence provided by an expert system that watches what a student does and what answers a student provides to tasks and questions. From the analysis of the student’s responses, the expert system infers the level of the student’s knowledge about the subject area and modifies dynamically the presentation and level of the interactive material.

1. Introduction

Interactive multimedia educational systems are becoming increasingly accepted as another technique in helping a student learn better and more efficiently. A logical next step is to place intelligence within multimedia presentations so that an intelligent tutoring system (ITS) results. The ensuing ITS contains a multimedia presentation, an expert system, and an invisible communication channel between them. The expert system, the intelligence of the Intelligent Tutoring System, "watches" the student, determines what the student knows, does not know and knows incorrectly, and uses this information to modify the presentation of the multimedia material.

Today, more is expected from software than mere functionality. Not only must software achieve its intended objectives but it also must be engaging. In the past intelligent tutoring systems presented students with a series of questions, carefully crafted problems, or directed actions which the students were asked to answer or perform. Once the student completed the tasks, the ITS analyzed the results to determine the student’s progress. This paper describes an ITS that places the student in a virtual office, presents the student with a "real life" problem to solve, then allows the student to choose whatever action is deemed appropriate. The problem then becomes: given that a student may do a finite number of things, can the expert system analyze what is going on and what tutoring a student needs on what topics? Because this paper is written as the project is developing and well in advance of its presentation, it will be

* Partial support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Undergraduate Education through grant DUE #9752417.

Butz, B. (1999, June), Freedom Of Choice In An Intelligent Tutoring System Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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