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  1. Mobile devices are being used profusely in the classrooms to improve passive learning environments and to enhance student comprehension. However, with respect to students’ active involvement in problem solving activities, the typical usage of the mobile devices in answering multiple choice and true/false questions is not adequate and the use of mobile devices need to be expanded to include dynamic and interactive problem-solving activities to better satisfy students’ learning needs. To facilitate such interactive problem solving using mobile devices, a comprehensive software environment is necessary. This paper details the design, deployment and evaluation of Mobile Response System (MRS) software that facilitates execution and assessment of multi-step in-class interactive problem-solving activities using mobile devices. MRS is an active learning tool, which engages students with the visual representation of a problem that spans on multiple screens, allows them to interact with that, and makes them realize the consequences of their actions instantly and visually. The immediate and automated grading feature of MRS enables a feedback-driven and evidence-based teaching methodology, which is important to improve the quality of classroom learning. MRS is designed to be independent of any interactive problem or its domain. Therefore, it allows easier integration of interactive activity Apps developedmore »by others and can be used in any discipline. The results obtained from software metrics and runtime performance data verified the quality of the software. Additionally, the in-class assessment data verified that the MRS software is a helpful intervention for improving student comprehension and satisfaction.« less
  2. Classroom formative assessment augmented with timely and frequent feedback has become one of the most prominent teaching practices in education research. On the context of Computer Science (CS) courses that expose students to the functionality and dynamic aspects of various algorithms, traditionally, students are evaluated by exploring in-class paper-based exercises. In these exercises, they simulate the steps of an algorithm by drawing several instances of a diagram. This traditional approach is time consuming, is inherently difficult for students to express the dynamics of an algorithm, does not allow timely feedback, and restricts the number of exercises that students can practice and receive feedback on. Mobile Response System (MRS) is a software environment that facilitates in-class exercises and their real-time assessment using mobile devices and therefore focuses on addressing many of the above-mentioned problems. In this paper, we present results of eight semester-long studies using MRS in two of the required CS courses at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU). Our experimental evaluation shows the educational benefits of the proposed approach in terms of enhanced student retention of covered concepts, reduced failing rate, and increased student engagement and satisfaction.
  3. Mobile learning environments have the benefit of facilitating real time student learning and assessment. However, most of such learning environments only support static or traditional learning activities. In STEM disciplines, we need more active and engaging activities and mobile learning environments should be able to support such dynamic activities. By designing such learning environments to run completely on the cloud will limit its extensibility and will not accommodate interactive activities developed by anyone other than the developer of such learning environment. Instead, we argue that by incorporating cloud services in a traditional software architecture will allow the flexibility to develop and deploy interactive problem solving activities along with versatility that cloud computing brings. This paper presents Mobile Response System (MRS) that facilitates in-class interactive problem solving using mobile devices. MRS uses cloud services in the infrastructure to minimize instructor’s workload, gives students transparent access, and makes the system failsafe alongside providing extensibility to any discipline.
  4. Computer Science instructors have been exploiting learning technology such as Algorithm Visualization (AV) for last few years to explain hard-to-understand algorithms to the learners through simulations and animations. In this work, we explore an active and highly engaging approach, namely, the construction of visualizations of the algorithms under study. Our approach is further augmented with automated assessment of students' in-class construction activities, which they execute as apps in their mobile devices. In this paper, we utilize case study, a step-by-step visualization of a construction exercise app, to explain how technology is leveraged to provide a richer way for learners to interact with a problem, and how instructor can acquire real-time evidence of learners' comprehension of covered lecture material. Our experimental evaluation shows the educational benefits of the proposed approach in terms of enhanced student learning, reduced drop-out rate and increased student satisfaction.
  5. Over the past couple of years, evidence-based teaching and learning methods are brought into focus from the experience gained in clinical psychology and their use of Evidence-Based Practices. Different authors have discussed the advantages of using such evidence-based methods for teaching and learning in academia. Measuring real-time impact of traditional pedagogical approaches used in STEM disciplines are not easy and do not provide faculty an instant evidence about student learning. This paper will present Mobile Response System (MRS) software, which facilitate anonymous communication, interaction and evaluation of in-class interactive problem solving activities using mobile devices. MRS facilitates a feedback-driven and evidence-based teaching methodology, which is important to enhance student learning.
  6. Communications between mobile apps are an important aspect of mobile platforms. Android is specifically designed with inter-app communication in mind and depends on this to provide different platform specific functionalities. Android Apps can either be designed with the help of Android SDK and using IDEs such as Android Studio or by using a browser based platform called App Inventor. These two development platforms provide their own technique for inter-app communication in the same platform, however lack an established method of inter-app communication when apps are developed using the two seperate development platforms. This paper provides the missing information required for the app communications and presents the method for sending and receiving arguments between apps developed in these two platforms. The paper also outlines the significance of the result, and examines their limitations.
  7. To improve student's class experience, the use of mobile devices has been steadily increasing. However, such use of mobile learning environments in the class is mostly static in nature through content delivery or multiple choice and true/false quiz taking. In CS courses, we need learning environments where students can interact with the problem in a hands-on-approach and instructor can assess their learning skills in real-time with problems having different degree of difficulty. To facilitate such interactive problem solving and real-time assessment using mobile devices, a comprehensive backend system is necessary. This paper presents one such system, named Mobile Response System (MRS) software, associated interactive problem-solving activities, and lessons learned by using it in the CS classrooms. MRS provides instructor with the opportunity of evidence-based teaching by allowing students to perform interactive exercises in their mobile devices with different learning outcomes and by getting an instant feedback on their performance and mental models. MRS is easy-to-use, extensible and can render interactive exercises developed by third-party developers. The student performance data shows its effectiveness in increasing student understanding of difficult concepts and the overall perception of using the software was very positive.
  8. In traditional classroom setting, lecturing is the prominent method of transferring knowledge to students. However this passive mode of instruction does not keep student engaged and interested longer in the class. Although mobile devices are used extensively in everyday life and have a bad reputation of creating distraction during class, it can be used to make student's class participation more interactive and engaging. This paper presents one such approach, which is fundamentally different than existing ones by allowing students to participate in active learning during class session by using their mobile devices. This research envision interactive problem applications which will run in student mobile devices, which faculty can initiate remotely and where student can actively participate to solve problem in a hands-on manner. This paper presents the development of a Karnaugh map interactive mobile application and its incorporation into Mobile Response System.
  9. A recent Pew research center study of mobile device usage revealed that, African American and Latinos are the most active users of the Internet from mobile devices. The study also revealed that minority cell phone owners take advantage of a much greater range of their phone's features compared with people of other ethnicities. At Winston Salem State University (WSSU), it is common for students to multitask and use their mobile devices while in class for studying, or performing other activities. This paper reports our ongoing experiences running a National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored targeted Infusion Project (TIP) in Computer Science Department that aims to leverage this situation by developing a mobile classroom response system (MRS) to allow students solve interactive problems in their mobile devices in order to improve their class engagement and problem solving skills. By allowing them to solve problems in their preferred devices, the project expects to create a friendly learning environment where the students want to retain, be active and skillful.
  10. Evidence-based instructional practices were incorporated in class, which gave immediate indication on student's problem solving skills and class participation information. This pedagogy showed positive results and broader acceptance by students in several semesters of intervention. Significant usage of mobile devices during class motivates the extension of this pedagogical approach of asynchronous problem solving using mobile devices. We believe that use of such devices in the classroom for solving interactive problems will enhance student's abilities to solve problems by using their preferred interaction mode. This paper presents the results of the evidence based pedagogy and development of a mobile classroom response system that extends this pedagogy to help student solve interactive problems in their mobile devices to improve their class engagement and problem solving skills.