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We present a description and preliminary results of our use of Tablet PCs to strengthen problem-solving skills in an upper-level course. This design is a modification of well-established steps used to teach increased competency in problem-solving strategies in engineering courses. Novelly, however, these steps are facilitated by the use of Tablet PCs by the students, which allows the instructor to receive real-time formative assessment as the class works through the problem-solving strategy. Used in conjunction with InkSurvey (free, web-based software), students respond to open-format questions posed by the instructor; digital ink allows the responses to include handwriting, diagrams, graphs, equations, etc. The instructor receives the student responses instantaneously and both students and instructor are guided by understandings and misconceptions revealed in these responses. Preliminary results indicate that this method is effective; it could be applied to any advanced STEM course that seeks to improve the problem-solving abilities of the students.
Date of Conference: 18-21 Oct. 2009