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A Computer-Assisted Personalized Approach in an Undergraduate Plant Physiology Class

Nancy N. Artus and Kenneth D. Nadler
Plant Physiology
Vol. 119, No. 4 (Apr., 1999), pp. 1177-1186
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4278727
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A Computer-Assisted Personalized Approach in an Undergraduate Plant Physiology Class
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Abstract

We used Computer-Assisted Personalized Approach (CAPA), a networked teaching and learning tool that generates computer individualized homework problem sets, in our large-enrollment introductory plant physiology course. We saw significant improvement in student examination performance with regular homework assignments, with CAPA being an effective and efficient substitute for hand-graded homework. Using CAPA, each student received a printed set of similar but individualized problems of a conceptual (qualitative) and/or quantitative nature with quality graphics. Because each set of problems is unique, students were encouraged to work together to clarify concepts but were required to do their own work for credit. Students could enter answers multiple times without penalty, and they were able to obtain immediate feedback and hints until the due date. These features increased student time on task, allowing higher course standards and student achievement in a diverse student population. CAPA handles routine tasks such as grading, recording, summarizing, and posting grades. In anonymous surveys, students indicated an overwhelming preference for homework in CAPA format, citing several features such as immediate feedback, multiple tries, and on-line accessibility as reasons for their preference. We wrote and used more than 170 problems on 17 topics in introductory plant physiology, cataloging them in a computer library for general access. Representative problems are compared and discussed.

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