Helping students find answers: algorithmic interpretation of student questions

Herbert, Jeremy, Smith, Elliot, Reidsema, Carl and Lydia Kavanagh (2013). Helping students find answers: algorithmic interpretation of student questions. In: Charles Lemckert, Graham Jenkins and Susan Lang-Lemckert, Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education: AAEE2013 Proceedings. AAEE 2013: 24th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia, (1-6). 8-11 December, 2013.

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Author Herbert, Jeremy
Smith, Elliot
Reidsema, Carl
Lydia Kavanagh
Title of paper Helping students find answers: algorithmic interpretation of student questions
Conference name AAEE 2013: 24th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education
Conference location Gold Coast, QLD, Australia
Conference dates 8-11 December, 2013
Proceedings title Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education: AAEE2013 Proceedings
Place of Publication Nathan, QLD, Australia
Publisher Griffith School of Engineering, Griffith University
Publication Year 2013
Sub-type Fully published paper
Open Access Status
ISBN 9780992409906
Editor Charles Lemckert
Graham Jenkins
Susan Lang-Lemckert
Start page 1
End page 6
Total pages 6
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
CONTEXT In discussion boards with a large number of participants, students often struggle with information overload and are more likely to post short answers and minimise involvement (Jones, Q., Ravid, G., & Rafaeli, S., 2004). Additionally, questions asked by students are often duplicated, making answers difficult to find as they dilute the available information on a particular topic. As more and more university courses transition to a flipped classroom model with diverse cohorts that do not have ready access to face-to-face assistance, this problem will be exacerbated. It is important that systems are put into place that can help students manage the large amount of information that can be shared and stored in discussion groups.

PURPOSE OR GOAL Design and develop a system where students can post questions that can be answered by both teaching staff and students. The system will be used to:
• Ensure students equal access to teaching staff
• Allow students to manage their own learning
• Increase the efficiency of teaching staff

APPROACH A new discussion system (Casper) has been developed with an integrated algorithm for comparing the similarity of question based on their use of distinct words (words which are used rarely over the whole text database) and other metrics such as number of views. When a student attempts to ask a question, the question title is used to perform a query and questions that contain similar distinct words are returned. The user is then displayed with an indication that their question may have already been asked and a link to redirect the student to the question. The system will be deployed in two compulsory, team- and project-based courses at XXXX for one semester and any use of the suggested links will be recorded. Students will be surveyed in a focus group format during the semester to collect feedback about the system.

ACTUAL OR ANTICIPATED OUTCOMES It is expected that the system will improve student feedback giving greater access to teaching staff to assist them in managing their own learning.

CONCLUSIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS/SUMMARY The likely conclusion of this study will be that the suggestions are utilized by students to reduce information
Keyword eLearning
Discussion
Search
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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Created: Wed, 19 Mar 2014, 16:35:25 EST by Lydia J Kavanagh on behalf of Faculty Of Engineering, Architecture & Info Tech