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The Evolution of Student Interaction with an Infinitely Explorable Online Learning System

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Potpouri - A Mix

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1198.1 - 23.1198.10



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Paper Authors

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Franco Capaldi Merrimack College

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The Evolution of Student Interaction with an Infinitely Explorable Online Learning System In  this  paper,  we  will  present  an  analysis  of  the  manner  in  which  students  interact  with  an  infinitely explorable online learning system. The Sigma Grading System (SGS), www.sigma‐, provides students  engineering  problems  in  statics,  fluids,  mechanics  of  materials,  and  physics  which  can  be infinitely  explored.  Traditional  online  systems  use  a  hint  based  system.  If  a  student  has  trouble,  such systems  let  them  ask  for  a  hint  and  proceed.  Instead,  SGS  provides  the  ability  for  the  student  to  test intermediate steps. If a student cannot determine the value of the sin of an angle, they can first check if the angle they are using is correct. In this way, a student is free to test any and all possible intermediate steps  in  a  problem.  We  will  show  how  students  evolve  to  take  advantage  of  this  promoting  creative thinking and less reliance on formulaic learning. Specifically, as students gain confidence in their answer entry  they  transition  from  a  guess  /  check  pattern  to  a  more structured  search  of  intermediate  steps.   This  analysis  is  made  possible  due  to  the  fact  that  SGS  maintains  a  log  of  student  entries  for  each problem. The analysis also gives insight into the way students approach problems. I will show that such a system can be used to automatically identify specific deficiencies in a student’s understanding. 

Capaldi, F. (2013, June), The Evolution of Student Interaction with an Infinitely Explorable Online Learning System Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22583

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