Stepbased tutoring consists in breaking down complicated problemsolving procedures into individual steps whose inputs can be immediately evaluated to promote effective student learning. Here, recent progress on the extension of a stepbased tutoring for linear circuit analysis to cover new topics requiring complex, multistep solution procedures is described. These topics include first and secondorder transient problems solved using classical differential equation approaches. Students use an interactive circuit editor to modify the circuit appropriately for each step of the analysis, followed by writing and solving equations using methods of their choice as appropriate. Initial work on Laplace transformbased circuit analysis is also discussed. Detailed feedback is supplied at each step along with fully worked examples, supporting introductory multiplechoice tutorials and YouTube videos, and a full record of the student's work is created in a PDF document for later study and review. Further, results of a comprehensive independent evaluation involving both quantitative and qualitative analysis and users across four participating institutions are discussed. Overall, students had very favorable experiences using the stepbased system across Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. At least 48% of students in the Fall 2020 semester and 60% of students in the Spring 2021 semester agreed or strongly agreed with all survey questions about positive features of the system. Those who had used the stepbased system and the commercial MasteringEngineering system preferred the former by 69% to 12% margins in surveys. Instructors were further surveyed and 86% would recommend the system to others.
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Interactive Editing of Circuits in a StepBased Tutoring System
Stepbased tutoring systems are known to be more effective than traditional answerbased
systems. They however require that each step in a student’s work be accepted and evaluated automatically to provide effective feedback. In the domain of linear circuit analysis, it is frequently necessary to allow students to draw or edit circuits on their screen to simplify or otherwise transform them. Here, the interface developed to accept such input and provide
immediate feedback in the Circuit Tutor system is described, along with systematic assessment data. Advanced simplification methods such as removing circuit sections that are removably hinged, voltagesplittable, or currentsplittable are taught to students in an interactive tutorial and then supported in the circuit editor itself. To address the learning curve associated with such an interface, ~70 video tutorials were created to demonstrate exactly how to work the randomly generated problems at each level of each of the tutorials in the system. A complete written record or “transcript” of student’s work in the system is being made available, showing both incorrect and correct steps. Introductory interactive (multiple choice) tutorials are now included on most topics. Assessment of exercises using the interactive editor was carried out by professional evaluators for several institutions, including three that heavily serve underrepresented minorities. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used, including focus groups, surveys, and interviews. Controlled, randomized, blind evaluations were carried out in three different course sections in Spring and Fall 2019 to evaluate three tutorials using the interactive editor, comparing use of Circuit Tutor to both a commercial answerbased system and to conventional textbookbased paper homework. In Fall 2019, students rated the software a mean of 4.14/5 for being helpful to learn the material vs. 3.05/5 for paper homework (HW), p < 0.001 and effect size d = 1.11σ. On relevant exam questions that semester, students scored significantly (p = 0.014) higher with an effect size of d = 0.64σ when using Circuit Tutor compared to paper HW in one class section, with no significant difference in the other section.
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 Award ID(s):
 1821628
 NSFPAR ID:
 10179925
 Date Published:
 Journal Name:
 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference
 Format(s):
 Medium: X
 Sponsoring Org:
 National Science Foundation
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Stepbased tutoring consists in breaking down complicated problemsolving procedures into individual steps whose inputs can be immediately evaluated to promote effective student learning. Here, recent progress on the extension of a stepbased tutoring for linear circuit analysis to cover new topics requiring complex, multistep solution procedures is described. These topics include first and secondorder transient problems solved using classical differential equation approaches. Students use an interactive circuit editor to modify the circuit appropriately for each step of the analysis, followed by writing and solving equations using methods of their choice as appropriate. Initial work on Laplace transformbased circuit analysis is also discussed. Detailed feedback is supplied at each step along with fully worked examples, supporting introductory multiplechoice tutorials and YouTube videos, and a full record of the student's work is created in a PDF document for later study and review. Further, results of a comprehensive independent evaluation involving both quantitative and qualitative analysis and users across four participating institutions are discussed. Overall, students had very favorable experiences using the stepbased system across Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. At least 48% of students in the Fall 2020 semester and 60% of students in the Spring 2021 semester agreed or strongly agreed with all survey questions about positive features of the system. Those who had used the stepbased system and the commercial MasteringEngineering system preferred the former by 69% to 12% margins in surveys. Instructors were further surveyed and 86% would recommend the system to others.more » « less

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