Instructional Strategies in Diagram-based ITSs: Lessons Learned from Two Tutoring Systems

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Guo, Enruo
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Gilbert, Stephen
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Computer Science

Computer Science—the theory, representation, processing, communication and use of information—is fundamentally transforming every aspect of human endeavor. The Department of Computer Science at Iowa State University advances computational and information sciences through; 1. educational and research programs within and beyond the university; 2. active engagement to help define national and international research, and 3. educational agendas, and sustained commitment to graduating leaders for academia, industry and government.

The Computer Science Department was officially established in 1969, with Robert Stewart serving as the founding Department Chair. Faculty were composed of joint appointments with Mathematics, Statistics, and Electrical Engineering. In 1969, the building which now houses the Computer Science department, then simply called the Computer Science building, was completed. Later it was named Atanasoff Hall. Throughout the 1980s to present, the department expanded and developed its teaching and research agendas to cover many areas of computing.

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Virtual Reality Applications Center
At VRAC, our mission is clear: “To elevate the synergy between humans and complex interdisciplinary systems to unprecedented levels of performance”. Through our exceptional Human Computer Interaction (HCI) graduate program, we nurture the next generation of visionaries and leaders in the field, providing them with a comprehensive understanding of the intricate relationship between humans and technology. This empowers our students to create intuitive and transformative user experiences that bridge the gap between innovation and practical application.
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The Department of Psychology may prepare students with a liberal study, or for work in academia or professional education for law or health-services. Graduates will be able to apply the scientific method to human behavior and mental processes, as well as have ample knowledge of psychological theory and method.
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Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
The Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering teaches the design, analysis, and improvement of the systems and processes in manufacturing, consulting, and service industries by application of the principles of engineering. The Department of General Engineering was formed in 1929. In 1956 its name changed to Department of Industrial Engineering. In 1989 its name changed to the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering.
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Unlike text-based input to an intelligent tutoring system, a diagram is perceived as a whole state; the operation sequence is less important. Traditional step-wise coaching is not as appropriate in diagram-based intelligent tutoring systems (DITS). From two previous tutoring systems, StaticsTutor and Thermo Cycle Tutor, we propose cross-domain pedagogical guidelines for DITS. In particular, instruction needs to be mapped to a hierarchical understanding of the diagram, where each level focuses on different characteristics of the drawing. Also, instruction needs to address conceptual knowledge and procedure expertise separately. Some practical suggestions are described to achieve these goals, such as 1) different tolerance for error at different level of evaluation, 2) use of Q&A to resolve diagram ambiguity and 3) early loading of expertise that is important for avoiding difficult-to-fix diagrammatic states.


This is a manuscript of a proceeding published as Guo, Enruo, and Stephen B. Gilbert. "Instructional Strategies in Diagram-based ITSs: Lessons Learned from Two Tutoring Systems." In: Pedagogy That Makes A Difference: Exploring Domain-Independent Principles across Instructional Management Research within the ITS Community. Proceedings of a Workshop held during The 12th Annual Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS-2014). 2014, pages 18-25. Posted with permission.

Sat Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2011