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Interactive Virtual Reality Games to Teaching Circuit Analysis with Metacognitive and Problem-Solving Strategies

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.940.1 - 22.940.7

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Paper Authors


Ying Tang Rowan University

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Ying Tang is Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. She received the B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Northeastern University, P.R. China, in 1996 and 1998, respectively, and Ph.D. degree from New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ, in 2001. Her research interests include virtual/augmented reality, operational research, discrete event systems, Petri nets applications, artificial intelligence, and computer networking.

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Sachin Shetty Tennessee State University

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Dr. Sachin Shetty is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Tennessee State University. He received his B.S. degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Mumbai, India in 1998, M.S. degree in Computer Science from University of Toledo in 2002 and Ph.D. degree in Modeling and Simulation from Old Dominion University in 2007. His area of competency includes theoretical and experimental research in protocols design, performance analysis, security algorithms, virtual and augmented reality, and system implementation of wireless networks, cognitive networks, ad-hoc networks, and sensor networks. He has authored and coauthored, including students, over 30 technical refereed and non-refereed papers in various conferences, international journal articles, book chapters in research and pedagogical techniques.

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Xiufang Chen Rowan University

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Xiufang Chen, Ph.D., is currently an Assistant Professor of Reading in the College of Education at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. Her current research interests include integration of technology and literacy instruction, socialcultural dimensions of literacy and learning, English language learners and struggling readers. She has numerous publications and conference presentations in the field of literacy education.

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Empowering Students with Engineering Literacy and Problem-solving through Interactive Virtual Reality GamesABSTRACT “What does this problem ask” is an oft-repeated phrase of engineering students given a problem to solve. Although engineeringfaculty always strives to effectively teach problem solving, it seems that a deeper and underlying cause of the inefficacy is students’reading comprehension. Reading is a critical skill for students to perform well academically. However, many students are poorreaders, or have difficulty understanding expository texts [1]. The serious problems in students’ comprehension ability pervadecontent areas like engineering. Indeed, the fact that the United States lags behind the world in technological innovation [2] mayreflect students’ limitations in reading as much as their knowledge of engineering and scientific contents and procedures. Researchhas shown that providing students with explicit reading strategy instructions improves their comprehension and learning [3]. Over the past several years, cyber-infrastructure has emerged as an important framework for the current and future conduct ofscience and engineering, improving scholarly productivities and enabling breakthroughs not otherwise possible [4]. In particular,collaboration and communication in a visualization environment, including VR based games, simulations and modeling, provide aubiquitous virtual learning environment for students. The pervasiveness of these technologies, coupled with informal educationinitiatives, has positively impacted where and how individuals learn. Through networked educational environments, individualscan now obtain 24/7 learning on-demand. VR-based games clearly motivate users in ways that much conventional instruction,including online non-routine challenge problems, does not [5]. Virtual reality can help transform negative or fearful perceptionsof science and engineering, helping learners to reason scientifically about naturally-occurring and human influenced events. Somehave observed [6] that game players learn implicitly in the context of playing games, and are motivated to continue learningoutside of the game in order to improve their game play. Simulations and models help provide insights into scientific conceptsand phenomena [7, 8]. Difficult abstract concepts and large data sets can be accessed in ways that are more visual, interactive, andconcrete. As such, simulations and models, and the games that incorporate them, have much to offer throughout a student’slearning experience. Motivated by these general remarks, the work presented in this paper designs a VR game system that infuses meta-cognitivereading strategies into fully packed Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) curriculum, particularly in the context of morespecific ECE knowledge domains: digital design and circuit analysis. The overarching goal of the work is to provide students anattractive and motivating environment for tackling engineering design in general, and to impart essential reading and reasoningstrategies in promoting improved problem-solving skills, in particular. The details of the meta-cognitive reading interventions andthe VR game modules are presented as a work in progress. REFERENCES[1] Bowen, B. A., “Four puzzles in adult literacy: Reflections on the national adult literacy survey,” Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 42, 314-323, 1999.[2][3] Stothard, S. E. and Hulme, C., “A comparison of reading comprehension and decoding difficulties in children,” Cornoldi C. and Oakhill J. (Eds.), Reading Comprehension Difficulties, pp. 93-112, 1996, Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.[4] Atkins, D. E., K. K. Droegemeier, S. I. Feldman, H. Garcia-Molina, M. L. Klein, D. G. Messerschmitt, P. Messina, J. P. Ostriker and M. H. Wright, 2003. Revolutionizing Science and Engineering through Cyberinfrastructure: Report of the National Science Foundation Blue-Ribbon Advisory Panel on Cyberinfrastructure. Arlington, VA; National Science Foundation, 84 p.[5] Yee, N. (2006). The Demographics, Motivations and Derived Experiences of Users of Massively-Multiuser Online Graphical Environments. PRESENCE: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 15, 309-329.[6] Salen, K., & Zimmerman, E. (2003). Rules of play: Game design fundamentals. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.[7] DiSessa, A. (2000). Changing minds: computers, learning, and literacy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.[8] Frederiksen, J. R., White, B.Y., & Gutwill, J. (1999). Dynamic mental models in learning science: The importance of constructing derivational linkages among models. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36(7), 806-836.

Tang, Y., & Shetty, S., & Chen, X. (2011, June), Interactive Virtual Reality Games to Teaching Circuit Analysis with Metacognitive and Problem-Solving Strategies Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC.

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