Leveraging Web Development to Modernize Quizzing; How Systems Used to Implement Virtual Learning Affect Student Satisfaction

Taliaferro, William, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Floryan, Mark, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia
Ferguson, Sean, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

Online learning has been growing in popularity since the advent of the internet but saw an explosion of use during the Covid-19 pandemic. This came as more aspects of traditional learning were leveraging online tools and systems. The combination of these two trends has led to the research described herein. First, I describe the implementation of an alternative examination style designed to encourage student comprehension rather than assessment. Inspired by this work, I then describe research into online learning tools and systems, and their factors and features which manifest into student satisfaction with the online course.
Outside of online learning and the pandemic, there exists a growing sentiment, especially in higher education, that diverse evaluation methods are better at developing deeper comprehension of a subject. This trend inspired the creation of a style of quizzing called Wiris quizzing, where students can practice an unlimited amount of autogenerated questions like those on the actual examination. Additionally, methods to more accurately gauge student comprehension have been developed. Corbett and Andersons model of knowledge tracing sees students answer a variable number of questions, until the likelihood the student understands the concept, as determined by the model, reaches a certain threshold. I have worked to combine these two technologies into a quiz tool as part of a larger online course management software. Students can practice questions like ones which will be graded, and when the time comes for assessment, it is done using something similar to Corbett and Andersons model. Implementing a tool for online learning inspired me to investigate how different systems succeed or fail in satisfying students.
Online education utilizes a diverse set of tools and systems in its implementation, each of which serving a specific purpose, having their own pros and cons. The vast number of options available allows educators the freedom to pick and choose their toolset for a course. Students
undoubtedly will have varying opinions of these tools and systems based on individual temperaments. It is important to understand what experiences students have on these platforms that build into their perspective. This is done, in part, using Moore’s theory of Transactional Distance, which describes the perceived distance between two parties, in this case the educator and pupil. Important aspects of Transactional Distance include dialogue, clarity, and autonomy. Other factors such as burdens to access and course structure were included to create a rubric from which to analyze various tools and systems used to implement online learning.
These projects were fascinating to work on and fulfilling to complete. On the technical side, more infrastructure had to be developed to support the quiz system than anticipated, but multiple choice and multiple select style questions available for use. The research into what experiences students have with online education platforms was completed but limited in scope to only a few of the many options afforded to institutions. Combined, these projects have helped honed the skill of considering the user when developing software.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Education, Software, Quiz, Pedagogy, Remote

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Advisor: Mark Floryan
STS Advisor: Sean Ferguson

Issued Date: