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An Experiment with Support Programming of a Textbook

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A textbook in solid state electron physics for undergraduates in, electrical engineering has been programmed by a method of "support programming." Instead of re-editing the entire book, as is usually done in programming, the textbook has been left intact and the program has been assembled in a separate booklet. This booklet is planned for use in conjunction with the textbook, each page in the booklet corresponding to an identically numbered page in the textbook. This method has considerable advantages in cost and flexibility over the conventional method, and leaves the textbook intact for future reference use. An unavoidable drawback is the limitations that it naturally places on the program construction, for example, in that the sequence of reading is not well controlled. The method has been evaluated in connection with a regular undergraduate course at Chalmers University, Gothenburg, Sweden. The results were measured in the final examination which was based on the textbook exclusively. Students using the programming had, on the average, 34 percent higher grades than the students not using the programming. Comparing only students not attending the regular scheduled teaching, the corresponding figure was as high as 62 percent. The main advantage seems to be that the teaching can be extended also to students who for various reasons study on their own and therefore miss the regular teaching support of their studies.

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Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 4 )