Project to improve undergraduate STEM education

Over the next four years, a new project will provide real-time support to undergraduate STEM students and instructors by using natural language processing to analyze student explanations of STEM phenomena. Gamze Ozogul, Associate Professor in Instructional Systems Technology, is the principal investigator of the project, which received $400,000 from the National Science Foundation

Ozogul said the project will advance understanding of how to improve undergraduate STEM education by providing real-time formative feedback to each individual student and real-time summaries to instructors so they can quickly adapt their instruction to the current needs of their students. Using a tool called ExplainIt, the project aims to increase engagement in large explanation-rich classrooms and will provide formative feedback directly to students and instructors. ExplainIt will make real-time formative feedback available and accessible to all students, as feedback has been recognized as an effective tool for student learning.

The project will produce significant theoretical and practical advances in undergraduate STEM education.

Gamze Ozogul

“The project will produce significant theoretical and practical advances in undergraduate STEM education,” Ozogul added. “It will lead to a deeper understanding of how students learn with explanation-based classroom response systems, including the learning gains and improvements in student engagement. It will also lead to a set of effective instructional support principles for explanation-rich classroom interactions that will be broadly applicable in multiple STEM disciplines and in diverse institutional settings.”

The work will be a return to some of her earlier research for Ozogul.

“My dissertation in Educational Technology was on design and implementation of self/peer and teacher feedback in 2006, followed by investigations of various types, delivery mediums and scheduling of feedback in Engineering Education context during my postdoc years,” she added. “Thus this project is very exciting as it allows me to continue investigating feedback, this time in STEM education, as real-time formative feedback coupled with advances in technology.”

Ozogul will be working with James Lester and his team from North Carolina State University on this grant.