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Student Performance Improvement using Interactive Textbooks: A Three-University Cross-Semester Analysis

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Conference

2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015

ISBN

978-0-692-50180-1

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Best of Computers in Education

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count

17

Page Numbers

26.1423.1 - 26.1423.17

DOI

10.18260/p.24760

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/24760

Download Count

82

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Paper Authors

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Alex Daniel Edgcomb University of California, Riverside

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Alex Edgcomb finished his PhD in computer science at UC Riverside in 2014. Alex has continued working as a research specialist at UC Riverside with his PhD advisor, studying the efficacy of web-native content for STEM education. Alex also works with Zyante, a startup that develops interactive, web-native textbooks in STEM.

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Frank Vahid University of California, Riverside

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Frank Vahid is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the Univ. of California, Riverside. His research interests include embedded systems design, and engineering education. He is a co-founder of zyBooks.com.

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Roman Lysecky University of Arizona

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Roman Lysecky is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Arizona. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Riverside in 1999, 2000, and 2005, respectively. His research interests focus on embedded systems, with emphasis on runtime optimization, non-intrusive system observation methods for in-situ analysis of complex hardware and software behavior, data-adaptable system, and embedded system security. He was awarded the Outstanding Ph.D. Dissertation Award from the European Design and Automation Association (EDAA) in 2006 for New Directions in Embedded Systems. He received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation in 2009 and four Best Paper Awards from the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Hardware-Software Codesign and System Synthesis (CODES+ISSS), the ACM/IEEE Design Automation and Test in Europe Conference (DATE), the IEEE International Conference on Engineering of Computer-Based Systems (ECBS), and the International Conference on Mobile Ubiquitous Computing, Systems, Services (UBICOMM). He is an inventor on one US patent. He has coauthored five textbooks on VHDL, Verilog, C, C++, and Java programming. His recent textbooks, published with Zyante, utilize a web-native, interactive, and animated approach that has shown notable increases in student learning and course grades. He has also received multiple awards for Excellence at the Student Interface from the College of Engineering at the University of Arizona.

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Andre Knoesen University of California, Davis

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André Knoesen is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Davis. He received a B.S. in Electronic Engineering from the University of Pretoria, South Africa in 1980, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1982 and 1987, respectively. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America. He performs research in biosensors, materials, and their applications in electronic and optoelectronic sensor systems. He has published more than 100 research papers and holds 2 U.S. patents.

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Rajeevan Amirtharajah University of California, Davis

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Rajeevan Amirtharajah received the S.B. and M.Eng. degrees in 1994, and the Ph.D. degree in 1999, all in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. His doctoral work developed micropower DSP systems which scavenge energy from mechanical vibrations in their environment and use that energy to process information provided by embedded and wearable sensors. From 1999 to 2002, as a senior member of the technical staff at High Speed Solutions Corp., Hudson, MA, later a subsidiary of Intel Corporation, he helped create innovative high performance multidrop bus technologies using electromagnetic coupling and pulse-based modulated signaling. He worked as an ASIC and mixed-signal circuit design consultant at SMaL Camera Technologies, Cambridge, MA, in 2003.

In July 2003, he joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at the University of California, Davis, where he is currently an associate professor. His research interests include low power VLSI design for sensor applications, powering systems from ambient energy sources, and high performance circuit and interconnect design. He received the National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2006. He is an inventor on over twenty United States patents and is a member of IEEE, AAAS, and Sigma Xi. In the 2012-2013 academic year, he was a visiting scholar at the Berkeley Wireless Research Center.

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Mary Lou Dorf University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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Mary Lou Dorf received a B.S. from Alma College (1967). She received a M.S. in mathematics (1969) and the Ph.D. (1990) in systems engineering both from the University of Toledo. In Jan 2002, she joined the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the University of Michigan as a Lecturer. She has received multiple awards for her innovations in teaching and excellence in service. Her research interests include women in computer science and engineering education. Her current efforts are on increasing the number of women who declare computer science as a major

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Abstract

Student Performance Improvement using Interactive Textbooks: A Three-University Cross-Semester AnalysisAn interactive textbook has substantially less text than a traditional textbook, insteadhaving numerous embedded question sets designed for learning and not quizzing, havingnumerous animations of key concepts, and with some built-in tools.We conducted an analysis to determine whether introducing an interactive textbook intointroductory engineering courses can improve student grades.The studies included four introductory computer-programming courses at three researchuniversities: C++ at [redacted University 1], C/C++ at [redacted University 2], andMATLAB at [redacted University 3]. For each, two course offerings were compared, thefirst using a static textbook or static web resources, and the second using an interactivetextbook. Most other course features remained the same between offerings, including theteacher and the semester offering (e.g., Spring semester), or were very similar;differences are noted.We compared the two offerings’ final course grades and performance on specific courseitems, including exams and projects.Across all courses involving 1,945 students, course grades improved by 0.28 points on a0-4 point scale (p-value < 0.001), or 1/4 letter grade, from static to interactive textbook.More importantly, students in the lower quartile of the course improved by 0.38 points(p-value < 0.001), or 1/3 letter grade. Exam scores improved by 13.6% (p-value < 0.001)and project scores by 7.4% (p-value < 0.001) from static to interactive textbooks.98% of the students subscribed to the interactive textbook and completed at least someactivities in the interactive textbook. The average student completed 87% of the assignedactivities in the interactive textbook. The teaching participants were asked their opinionfor what caused student performance improvement. A representative answer was: “Iassigned [interactive textbook] readings due every two weeks. I noticed a difference. Thestudents would ask more involved questions. They noticed that the reading did the basicsand that lecture reviewed the basics, but went more in depth -- covering the exceptionsand unusual cases.”Interactive textbooks significantly improved student course grades, including exam andproject grades, especially for the least-prepared students.

Edgcomb, A. D., & Vahid, F., & Lysecky, R., & Knoesen, A., & Amirtharajah, R., & Dorf, M. L. (2015, June), Student Performance Improvement using Interactive Textbooks: A Three-University Cross-Semester Analysis Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24760

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