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Collaborative Research: Interactive Video-Enhanced Tutorials on Problem Solving in Physics: 1821396

Principal Investigator: Kathleen Koenig
CoPrincipal Investigator(s): Alexandru Maries
Organization: University of Cincinnati Main Campus

This collaborative project at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Cincinnati aims to increase the number of students who graduate in STEM, so that the United States can maintain a strong workforce for global competitiveness. Retaining more students in STEM majors during the first two years of college is especially critical. This project will create, test, evaluate, and disseminate a set of interactive online tutorials for introductory physics classes. These tutorials will be designed to help students develop the skills necessary for solving complex problems, while giving students early, positive experiences that will build their confidence and persistence. Based on multimedia learning principles and research on human learning and memory, each tutorial will provide varying amounts and types of support, aligned with individual student needs. The support will be delivered through (online) mini-lectures, hints, tips, or encouragement by a tutor (a real person who appears in a video). Students who struggle more will receive more guidance, and students who struggle less will be able to navigate through the tutorial at a faster pace. The process is intended to be similar to having a live tutor for help and guidance.

The project’s overarching goals are to improve physics instruction for all students by using online tutorials for teaching problem solving, and to contribute to physics education research by studying the use of the tutorials. To achieve these goals, the project team has identified the following objectives: (1) Create a set of 30 online Interactive Video-Enhanced Tutorials (IVETs). (2) Disseminate the IVETs through the ComPADRE Digital Library of educational resources in physics and astronomy (https://www.compadre.org/). (3) Evaluate the effectiveness of at least ten of the IVETs, and compare the effectiveness of IVETs at the two collaborating universities. (4) Disseminate the results of the research. The IVETs will be an innovative resource that can support introductory physics courses. In addition, the research on students’ interactions with the IVETs can increase understanding of instructional strategies that optimize students’ use of online homework systems.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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