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J. Montes, J. Deza, J.C. de Sande

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
Higher education students demand fast feedback about their assignments and the opportunity to repeat them in case they do in a wrong way. Here a computer based trainer for Signals and Systems students is presented. An application, that automatically generates and assesses thousands of numerically different versions of several Signals and Systems problems have been developed. This applet guides the students to find the solution and automatically assesses and grades the student proposed solution. The students can use the application to practice in solving several types of Signals and Systems basic problems. After selecting the problem type, the student introduces a seed and the application generates a numerical version of the selected problem. Then the application presents a sequence of questions that the student must solve and the application automatically grades the student’s answers. After solving a given problem, the students can repeat the same numerical variation of the problem by introducing the same seed to the application. In this way, they can review their solution with the help of the hints given by the application for wrong solutions. This application can also be used as an automatic assessment tool by the instructor. When the assessment is made in a controlled environment (examination classroom or laboratory) the instructor can use the same seed for all students. Otherwise, different seeds can be assigned to different students and in this way they solve different numerical variation of the proposed problem, so cheating becomes an arduous task. Given a problem type, the mathematical or conceptual difficulty of the problem can vary depending on the numerical values of the parameters of the problem. The application permits to easily select groups of seeds that yield to numerical variations with similar mathematical or conceptual difficulty. This represents an advantage over a randomised task assignment where students are asked to solve tasks with quite different difficulty.