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Initial Investigation into the Effect of Homework Solution Media on Fundamental Statics Comprehension

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Statics - They can move at constant velocity!

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Page Count


Page Numbers

23.754.1 - 23.754.9



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Paper Authors


Sean Moseley Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Sean Moseley is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He received a B.S. from The Georgia Institute of Technology and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Shannon M. Sipes Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Initial Investigation into the Effect of Homework Solution Media on Fundamental Statics ComprehensionIntroduction & Results Summary Solutions to homework assignments are provided in many engineering science classes asa method of helping students see a correct solution procedure for the assigned problems. Thiswork describes an initial investigation into the effectiveness of providing homework solutions indifferent media. Specifically, homework solutions are presented as either static PDFs of acompleted analysis (Treatment 1) or annotated videos (sometimes called “screencasts”) of theanalysis being developed (Treatment 2). Student performance on a pre/post Statics ConceptInventory and self-reported survey results are used as measures of the effectiveness of the twodifferent homework solution treatments. To account for differences in initial SCI scores, the analysis focuses primarily on thechange in SCI score (pre – post). When only considering students who accessed the homeworksolutions at least once during the study, the results are not statistically significant betweenTreatment 1 and Treatment 2 (Mpdf = 20.4%, sd = 14.3, n = 26; Mvideo = 23.4%, sd = 18.9, n =22). However, restricting the analysis to students who accessed the homework solutions threetimes or more (possibly indicating usage of the solutions as a regular learning guide), the resultsshow a trend towards statistical significance (Mpdf = 7.4%, sd = 16.3, n = 4; Mvideo = 20.4%,sd = 19.1, n = 6; p = 0.15) similar to those seen in the initial investigation. A similar trend isfound when analyzing the raw post-class SCI scores. Further research is needed to determine ifthese trends hold for larger sample sizes and other courses.Background/Justification The pedagogical theories that underlie this study are the existing work on a StaticsConcept Inventory1,2 and highly-guided instruction3. The Statics Concept Inventory (SCI) isused as a measure of student learning of fundamental statics concepts. In this study, anelectronic version of the SCI (located at was used. The SCI wasadministered both at the beginning of the course and near the end of the course, measuringstudent performance gains. Using a concept inventory to objectively measure performance gainsrelated to homework video solution media is a new effort introduced by this work. Some initialresults of this investigation were previously presented as a work-in-progress, but the full resultsare presented here. The hypothesis underlying this study is that students will better learn the fundamentals ofan analysis-type course if they can see solutions to typical problems being developed instead ofjust the completed analysis. If students watch the solution being developed, they can predict thenext steps, think about what their analysis would look like, and check their solution step-by-step.If students have access to a completed analysis, they would be more likely to just check the finalanswer instead of checking the individual steps of their analysis. Additionally, watching anexpert problem-solver (the instructor who prepares the solution) approach a problem can helpstudents develop their own problem-solving strategies3. This instruction by example could beparticularly effective if the rationale behind particular analysis steps, assumptions, and equationsbeing used is given to the students (through written comments in the margins or audiocommentary). Prior work supports the idea that students should find video problem solutions tobe helpful and valuable4.References[1] Steif, P. S., and Dantzler, J. A. (2005). “A Statics Concept Inventory: Development and Psychometric Analysis.” Journal of Engineering Education 94 (4): 363-71.[2] Steif, P. S., and Hansen, M. (2006). “Comparisons Between Performances in a Statics Concept Inventory and Course Examinations.” International Journal of Engineering Education 22: 1070-76.[3] Kirschner, P. A., Sweller, J., and Clark, R. E. (2006) “Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry- Based Teaching.” Educational Psychologist, 41 (2): 75-86.[4] Berger, E. (2007) “Podcasting in engineering education: A preliminary study on content, student attitudes, and impact.” Innovate 4 (1).

Moseley, S., & Sipes, S. M. (2013, June), Initial Investigation into the Effect of Homework Solution Media on Fundamental Statics Comprehension Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19768

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