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INTERNET COACHES FOR PROBLEM SOLVING IN INTRODUCTORY PHYSICS: Experimental Design. Leon Hsu 1 , Qing Xu 2 , Ken Hel ler 2, Bijaya Aryal 3 1. Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, University of Minnesota–Twin Cities

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INTERNET COACHES FOR PROBLEM SOLVING IN INTRODUCTORY PHYSICS: Experimental Design

Leon Hsu 1, Qing Xu2, Ken Heller 2, Bijaya Aryal3

1. Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, University of Minnesota–Twin Cities

2. School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota–Twin Cities

3. Center for Learning Innovation, University of Minnesota–Rochester

Supported by the National Science Foundation DUE-0715615.

Goal and design

Goals

Experimental Design

• Data collected from students included:

- Pre and post-test scores on the FCI, CLASS, and a

math diagnostic test

- Solutions to 13 free-response problems from

4 midterms and the final exam.

- Responses to a survey on the utility of various course

components (lecture, discussion, lab, coaches, etc.)

• Final exam solutions from another section of the same class

with a different instructor and no computer coaches were

also collected.

• 35 computer coaches were incorporated into a 219-

student section of a calculus-based introductory

mechanicscourse

• Students could complete their homework by working

through the coaches or by entering a correct answer in

WebAssign (within three tries).

• Students usage of the coaches was tracked by recording

their keystrokes while they worked through the coaches.

• Test the usability and utility of computer programs

designed to provide students with individualized

coaching while solving problems.

• Coaching programs are designed within the

framework of a cognitive apprenticeship and provide

scaffolding in conjunction with the processes of

modeling, coaching, and fading.

• Coaching programs emphasize the process of

decision-making in solving problems.

Computer Coaches

Mode 3– Independent practice

S solves or asks for help, C questions,

S responds, C assesses

Mode 2 – Debugging

C decides or asks help, S assesses, C responds

Mode 1 – Guidance

C guides, S decides, C assesses

Usability Results

132 survey responses received from students who had completed at least 10 coaches (as verified by log files).

  • Students primarily used the coaches for help if they got stuck.
  • The step-by-step Type I coach was judged the most useful at the beginning of the course. All were judged equally useful at the end of the course.
  • Out of 219 students, the average number of coaches attempted was 28 and completed was 21.9 out of a maximum of 35. Only 20 students completed fewer than 10 coaches.
  • Students felt the coaches were the most useful class element for their learning (tied with the lectures).

Conclusion: Students believe the coaches are valuable