(106c) Check Your Homework with Your Phone | AIChE

(106c) Check Your Homework with Your Phone


Wagner, J. - Presenter, Trine University
Malefyt, A. P., Trine University
Thomas, G. Jr., West Virginia University Institute of Technology
Recently, computers have been used to deliver homework, quiz, and examination problems that were traditionally paper based. These electronic problems have several advantages for the instructor as well as the students. Advantages for students include instant feedback, multiple tries, and follow-up computer-based instruction to address any learner deficiencies. Less instructor grading and difficulties with students copying solutions manuals, along with the possibility of large problem banks are some of the advantages for instructors.

However, there are several disadvantages to computer-based delivery systems. Students are normally bound to the computer and an internet connection while they are working the problem. While this can normally be accomplished, it is certainly not as flexible as a problem on a piece of paper. Another disadvantage is that engineers are normally encouraged to clearly document their work and this step is less likely to be reinforced with a computer-based homework system.

The biggest disadvantage however, may be that students are less likely to efficiently engage the problems that are presented on a computer. This is especially true with traditional engineering education problems that tend to have several pieces of information, involve physical laws, mathematical manipulation and logical reasoning. When given these types of problems on the computer, some students will attempt to do more of the steps in their heads, usually becoming frustrated, instead of transcribing the material from the computer to a piece of paper to manipulate it. Obtaining a hard copy by printing it can sometimes be difficult if the problem is not formatted for printing.

To address these issues, a problem repository has been developed and continues to be populated with engineering problems that are made to be printed. Unlike traditional paper-based problems, each student receives a different version of the problem. In addition, the printed file contains a QR Code and website where students can check their responses with their phone or computer. Context specific instructional materials are provided on the website for students who need instructional support. Besides homework problems, this system lends itself to in-class practice and group problems especially for classrooms that are not equipped with computers.

Many of these problems have been tested in several chemical engineering classes including Energy Balances, Thermodynamics, and as a curriculum review in Chemical Process Design I.

The proposed system combines the flexibility and efficiency of a paper-based system with many of the advantages of a computer-based system and allows students to get immediate feedback utilizing their cell phones. The student interface for this problem system will be demonstrated in the session.



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