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The Use of an Automatic Computer System in Teachin

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2 Author(s)
Braunfeld, P.G. ; University of Illinois. Urhana, Ill. ; Fosdick, L.D.

PLATO II is an automatic teaching device designed to teach a number of students concurrently, but independently, by means of a single, central, high-speed computer. Only two student sites have been constructed thus far, but, in principal, the number of students that can be taught by PLATO II is limited only by the capacity and speed of the central computer. The power of such a computer-based teaching system stems from its ability to ask complex questions, judge the students' answers to these questions, and take an appropriate course of action on the basis of student responses. The computer also keeps detailed and accurate records of student performance, which are extremely useful guides to improving course content. The paper reports in some detail a study using PLATO II to teach nine undergraduate students a portion of a course on computer programming. By way of example of what can be done, the paper presents some analysis and interpretation of data gathered by the computer in the course of the study. The apparent effectiveness of PLATO II as a teacher, as well as the kinds of problems encountered in preparing lesson material for an automatic system, are discussed.

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Education, IRE Transactions on  (Volume:E-5 ,  Issue: 3 & 4 )