Computer Science Prof Awarded PSEER, SoTL, and LEF Funding
Dr Judi McCuaig, Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science, was recently awarded PSEER, SoTL, and LEF funding to support her research program exploring immediate feedback and student learning. Dr McCuaig also received funding to cover the cost of registration for the Inquire Certificate program through Open Education.
Research Program: The Immediate Feedback System (IFS)
Formative assessment is known to be valuable for educators and students, however, instructors of large classes cannot easily assess the areas of difficulty for their students because it is impossible to quickly review the work of hundreds of students. This capacity-building project is focused on the research question “Can automated feedback for instructors serve as a type of formative evaluation?” This project will extend the Immediate Feedback System with capability of providing on-demand formative assessment information to instructors. For example, instructors could get reports about common errors students are making, about the frequency of use of specific help modules or queries, or about the time students report spending on specific aspects of the course.
Post-secondary instructors and employers identify problem-solving as a key attribute that contributes to the success or failure of a student or employee. When students begin post-secondary studies, their problem-solving skills are often unsophisticated and unpracticed. This project will result in the creation of an experiential curriculum for teaching problem-solving skills to provide students with metacognitive knowledge about their own problem-solving approaches. The curriculum will be designed in consultation with upper year computing students and tested with third and fourth semester computing students using case studies derived from programming assignments. The case studies focus on content that the students already have mastery of to reduce the cognitive load and allow focus on metacognition about the problem-solving process. The efficacy of this approach will be evaluated during a 2-day workshop for undergraduate students in Winter 2019
STEM programs place high value on the development of problem-solving skills in their students. However, the assessment of problem-solving skills is challenging and, at present, domain specific. Frequently, the skill that is unintentionally assessed by predominately pencil/paper problem-solving measures is test-taking, rendering the assessment of problem-solving skill invalid. This research will develop instruments for assessing the problem-solving skills of computer science students. The instruments will be designed to avoid reliance on test-taking skills to obtain a valid measure.
About Dr McCuaig:
I am an educator first and foremost. My proudest moments are the accomplishments of those I have mentored. Every teaching experience hones my communication, innovation and management abilities. My experiences in primarily Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan strengthened my compassion and taught me conciliation and cultural inclusivity. Mentoring and career coaching while working in industry spurred an interest in adult learners, especially those with learning challenges and disabilities. The variety of courses I have taught at the University of Guelph has given me ample opportunity to employ creativity and new instructional strategies.