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Use Of Web Based Testing Software For Problem Based Learning In Hydraulics And Hydrology

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Curriculum Development in Civil ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1360.1 - 9.1360.16



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Paper Authors

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Carmine Balascio

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

Session 2649

Use of Web-Based Testing Software for Problem-Based Learning in Hydraulics and Hydrology

Carmine C. Balascio, Ph.D., P.E. Department of Bioresources Engineering University of Delaware Newark, DE

Abstract LON-CAPA is web-based course management software supported by Michigan State University. It includes a testing component that allows for coding a variety of sophisticated problems that are computer-graded and submitted by students on-line. Each student can be given problems having unique parameter values. Grading can be done on a "mastery" basis with the student given multiple attempts to solve the problems. LON-CAPA was used for problem-based learning activities in EGTE 321, Storm-Water Management, at the University of Delaware. Problems were formulated to emphasize analysis and design of storm-water management systems. Problems included components involving open-channels, vegetated waterways, water-surface profiles, culverts, storm-drains, NRCS TR- 55 hydrology, and reservoir routing – conceptually difficult subjects for many students to master. Advantages of using LON-CAPA with problem-based-learning methods included: • Mastery-based learning encourages students to work on problems until they get them right. With standard grading systems, students do not get immediate feedback and do not have the opportunity to be as persistent in finding the correct solutions. • Once problems are coded, demand on instructor time decreases because problems are computer-graded. Mastery-based learning becomes much more feasible. • Students have unique numbers for their problems. Cheating is difficult. Students can be encouraged to discuss with one another the concepts required to solve the problems but cannot simply give one another the answers. • LON-CAPA gives the instructor the ability to check values of intermediate calculations required to arrive at the solutions of each student’s problems. This feature makes it possible quickly to identify the points with which the student is experiencing difficulty. Misconceptions and gaps in knowledge can be readily addressed.

This paper includes strategies for writing problems that are suited for development of design and analysis skills in engineering-related topics and provides examples. Techniques for coding solutions to complicated problems with a minimum of “bugs” are also discussed. Student comments and preferences regarding use of the LON-CAPA system in conjunction with Problem-Based Learning are examined.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Balascio, C. (2004, June), Use Of Web Based Testing Software For Problem Based Learning In Hydraulics And Hydrology Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13542

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