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New Software To Assess Equations Of Motion

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.338.1 - 1.338.6

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Paper Authors

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J. R. Yujnovich

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N.W. Scott

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B.J. Stone

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

Session 3520

New Software to Assess Equations of Motion J. R. Yujnovich, N.W. Scott & B.J. Stone The University of Western Australia

student can immediately view very specific explanatory Abstract material related to the misconception. By far the most common form of computer-based assessment software is multiple-choice. Although this is 9 All student actions are recorded by a central ‘server’ convenient for "digital" marking, the resulting educational computer. Students who fall behind are thus easily experience for the student can leave something to be desired. spotted. This monitoring feature has allowed students in Therefore the authors are investigating ways of allowing the trouble to be contacted by telephone or letter and student of engineering dynamics to respond to problems in a arrangements made for personal tuition or other more "free-form" manner. The example presented in this assistance. A unique display maintained by the serving paper allows students to enter the equations of motion for a computer also allows teaching staff to immediately particle in contact with a plane. The student must follow determine if any of the problems are causing the class certain notation conventions, but is not prompted to use any general difficulty. particular co-ordinate system. From the resulting strings it is 10 A human tutor is present during assigned tutorial hours, possible to infer not only which co-ordinate system the to offer help if the computer’s diagnosis and associated student is implicitly using, but whether it is used help is insufficient. In practice the tutor is often idle in a consistently, or if some other error has been made. Specific class of 40 students. diagnostic feedback is provided in the case of an error. Results from student use of the software as part of an assessed course are presented. 1 Background During 1995 at the University of Western Australia the conventional tutoring system for first year engineering dynamics was replaced by a computer based assessment system which provided students with diagnostic feedback1. This tutorial system has the following features: 1 Students log in using a password. 2 All the computer terminals are in one large room, which encourages student-student interaction. 3 Students attempt problems that are presented on the computer screen. The current problem must be solved before moving to the next. 4 Each student has a unique set of numerical values for Figure 1 A typical ‘lead-up’ problem card. every problem. The idea behind the diagnostic feedback was to determine a 5 Students enter answers that are always a number with misunderstanding by working back from an incorrect units e.g. “3.2 m/s”. numerical answer. This is best summarised by the diagram 6 There are typically eight ‘lead-up’ problems in each set, shown in Figure 2. The student answer is compared with a followed by two assessed problems. The assessed number of areas in the set of real numbers. The areas problems are marked based on the number of attempts labelled Answer, Error 1 and Error 2, are simply numerical required to obtain the correct answer. Although the ‘lead- values associated with the actual answer, and two possible up’ questions are not marked, they must be completed errors which the problem will detect. These values have before the assessed questions can be attempted. In 1995 tolerances of plus and minus two percent. If the student the assessed problems count for 20% of the year’s mark. answer should fall within one of theses limits then either the 7 The ‘lead-up’ questions form a carefully chosen sequence correct answer feedback is given, or the feedback associated that explores each of the pitfalls of the assessed with the particular error is shown. If the answer does not fall problems. An example question is shown in Figure 1. within one of these limits, then it is assumed to be an 8 The software surrounding the ‘lead-up’ problems is often arithmetic error. able to ‘diagnose’ the difficulty with an incorrect answer, The use of these computer based tutorials was well received based on common student errors. If this occurs then the by the students. Figure 3 shows the response to one of the

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Yujnovich, J. R., & Scott, N., & Stone, B. (1996, June), New Software To Assess Equations Of Motion Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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