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Strategies for Using Online Practice Problems

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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

Applications of Online Computing

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1106.1 - 24.1106.26



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Paper Authors


Jess W. Everett Rowan University

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Jess W. Everett has worked in four distinct areas: waste management operations research, contaminated site assessment and remediation, education innovation, and sustainable engineering. He has employed a wide variety of techniques, including computer modeling, laboratory experiments, field testing, and surveys. His current research focuses on energy conservation, alternative energy generation, engineering learning communities, and hybrid courses (courses with classroom and on-line aspects).

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Kaitlin Engle Mallouk Rowan University Orcid 16x16

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Kaitlin Mallouk is an Instructor of Mechanical Engineering at Rowan University. Kaitlin has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University and an MS in Environmental Engineering in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois. She is completing her PhD in Environmental Engineering with a focus on Air Quality Engineering at the University of Illinois.

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Joseph Francis Stanzione III Rowan University

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Prof. Stanzione currently teaches Polymer Processing and Freshman and Sophomore Engineering Clinics. His teaching interests include thermodynamics; separations; reaction engineering; polymer science and engineering; green/sustainable chemistry and engineering; and bio-based materials. His research interests include the utilization of lignin as an alternative renewable chemicals feedstock; lignin-based plastics; green chemistry and engineering for the development of next-generation lignocellulosic biorefineries; and bio-based polymers and composites. His work has been published in Green Chemistry; ChemSusChem; ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering; ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces; the Journal of Applied Polymer Science; and the Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids. He is currently collaborating with scientists at Drexel University, the University of Delaware, and the Army Research Labs. While at the University of Delaware, he completed the Higher Education Teaching Certification program, a program that is offered by the Center for Teaching & Assessment of Learning, and participated in the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering’s Teaching Fellowship program.

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Jenahvive K. Morgan Rowan University

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PathFinder is an active website coded in html,, c#, JavaScript, xml, and MathML. Thewebsite assembles ebooks on the fly from an xml database. The ebooks have randomly selectedand generated exercises that are automatically graded. Instantaneous feedback is provided toboth students and professors regarding performance on on-line exercises.PathFinder is used to deliver an ebook to a first year introductory engineering course. In Fall2013 12 sections of 20 – 25 students each used the Pathfinder ebook. This provides anopportunity to investigate the effectiveness of on-line practice problems. PathFinder provideson-line practice problems that students can work before completing scored problems. Practiceproblems can be similar or related to the student’s scored problem. A similar practice problemis identical to the scored problem (same problem statement), but the given input values aredifferent. A related practice problem is different from the scored problem, both in input valuesand problem statement.Four sets of four problems each were used to investigate 4 scenarios. Scenarios were randomlyapplied such that each student was exposed to all four scenarios, but on different sets ofproblems. In all scenarios the fourth problem had no practice problem, so it could be used as atest of the effectiveness of the practice problems provided for the first three problems. In thefirst scenario, no practice problems were provided. In the second, three similar practiceproblems were provided. In the third, three related practice problems were provided. In thefourth, the first problem had a similar, the second a related, and the third no practice problem.The effectiveness of each scenario will be evaluated using (1) student scores on the fourthproblems, (2) survey questions completed by students after finishing each series of fourquestions, and (3) examination performance on related problems. The results are expected toprovide feedback that can be used to select one scenario for providing practice problems in thefuture.

Everett, J. W., & Mallouk, K. E., & Stanzione, J. F., & Morgan, J. K. (2014, June), Strategies for Using Online Practice Problems Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23039

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