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Student Dashboard for a Multi-agent Approach for Academic Advising

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Teaching and Advising Tools Using Computers and Smart Devices

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Oscar Antonio Perez University of Texas - El Paso

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Prof. Oscar Perez received his B.S. and Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso with a special focus on data communications. Awarded the Woody Everett award from the American Society for engineering education August 2011 for the research on the impact of mobile devices in the classroom. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Prof. Perez has been teaching the Basic Engineering (BE) – BE 1301 course for over 8 years. Lead the design for the development of the new Basic Engineering course (now UNIV 1301) for engineering at UTEP: Engineering, Science and University Colleges. Developed over 5 new courses, including UTEP technology & society core curriculum classes specifically for incoming freshman with a STEM background. Prof. Perez was awarded the 2014 “University of Texas at El Paso award for Outstanding Teaching”. Prof. Perez has over thirteen years of professional experience working as an Electrical and Computer Engineer providing technical support to faculty and students utilizing UGLC classrooms and auditoriums. Mr. Perez is committed to the highest level of service to provide an exceptional experience to all of the UGLC guests. Mr. Perez strongly believes that by providing exceptional customer service that UGLC patrons will return to make use of the various services the university offers. Mr. Perez enjoys working on the professional development of the students’ employees at the UGLC. He shares with his student employees his practical experience in using electrical engineering concepts and computer technologies to help in everyday real-world applications. Mr. Perez has worked with the UTeach program at UTEP since its creation to streamline the transition process for engineering students from local area high schools to college by equipping their teachers with teaching strategies and technologies each summer. Oscar enjoys teamwork, believes in education as a process for achieving life-long learning rather than as a purely academic pursuit. He currently works on maintaining, upgrading and designing the classroom of the future. Mr. Perez is inspired because he enjoys working with people and technology in the same environment.

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Virgilio Ernesto Gonzalez University of Texas - El Paso Orcid 16x16

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Virgilio Gonzalez, Associate Chair and Clinical Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso, started his first appointment at UTEP in 2001. He received the UT System Board of Regents Outstanding Teaching Award in 2012. From 1996 to 2001 he was the Technology Planning manager for AT&T-Alestra in Mexico; and before that was the Telecommunications Director for ITESM in Mexico. His research areas are in Communications Networks, Fiber Optics, Wireless Sensors, Process Automation, and Engineering Education.

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The objective of this research is to demonstrate a mechanism to improve the advising of students in a nontraditional environment. Minority serving institutions, commuter campus and institutions with a high percentage of student transfers are unable to keep a tightly controlled cohort of students progressing through the curriculum. Students usually have varied course loads and different priorities due to family, financial need or other responsibilities. Therefore, they need an individualized approach to advising. The school administration faces more challenges scheduling courses and allocating diminishing resources to satisfy the student demand. In addition, the faculty needs to assess the efficacy of the curriculum in a program and collecting longitudinal student data is difficult. A web application (mobile compatible) of a multi-agent approach to allow the students to take more control over their individualized advising has been developed. In this context, the student tool becomes an agent and the school provides the environment with a desirable behavior for the system. We call the academic control objective the "Operator." This paper focuses on the agent system by building a dashboard tool that will collect students' information about their progress through the curriculum in a program and will generate advising recommendations. The agent logic employs principles used in project management tools designed to help the students optimize their resources to complete their degree sooner. It provides a visualization map of course sequences, customized for each student based on the course history, making advising adjustments that will optimize the time to obtain the degree under a constrained set of resources. At the same time, the agent system provides real-time feedback to the Operator. The second tool is the Operator dashboard that consolidates the collected data from the agents through several semesters (historical data) plus the predicted effects of the recommended plans. This enables a better resource allocation from the administration and deeper analysis of the curriculum effectiveness. The operator dashboard is on the final stages of development and it will be finished before the draft of the research is submitted. Previous work has presented some limited insight into the multi-agent approach or the critical path methods. However, the proliferation of mobile devices and cloud computing enables a larger scale application of the proposed methodology. The results that we have acquired at this point show a very high acceptance of the system by the students. The complete dataset will be discussed extensively in the results section.

Perez, O. A., & Gonzalez, V. E. (2016, June), Student Dashboard for a Multi-agent Approach for Academic Advising Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27346

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