Introducing new concepts online with checkpoints and instant feedback

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Introducing course content online

Learning can happen in a variety of ways: in classrooms with a teacher-centered style, in flipped lectures, individual work or collaborative activities, asynchronously or synchronously online. Just like there are different teaching methods, people also learn in different ways. Some learners prefer to read, some prefer to watch videos, and others like hands-on work. Mixing different learning approaches can improve the learner engagement. In this assessment, we combine a mixture of text, equations, plots, videos and interactive JupyterLabs to introduce a new topic where students can learn at their own pace. The assessment includes short formative questions, so that students can assess their own learning.

We will use the assessment L1: Learning new concepts asynchronously to highlight some of the PrairieLearn features to deliver course content online.

Question 1

This question generator illustrates how we can combine text and equations to introduce new content to students. It follows with simple conceptual checkpoints to help students test their own understanding. Students have two attempts to complete these checkpoints (repeated variant configuration), and they can create a new question variant if they answer them correctly or if they use all the retry attempts. At the end of each question variant, a video with the explanation of the question is displayed. Note that embedding videos inside questions is another method of content delivery that can be used with PrairieLearn.

Question 2

Here we use a JupyterLab notebook for an interactive example to support the introduction of another concept. Students need to answer a simple multiple-choice question to test their understanding of the notebook.

Question 3

The last question includes formative short questions that summarize the concepts introduced in the previous two questions. Several parameters are randomized, so that students can get more practice by generating different question variants, each one with two attempts.