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International Journal of Advanced Computer Science, Vol. 1, No. 3, Pp. 100-105, Sep. 2011.

Support System to Present Materials Reflecting Students Understanding


Toru Hirose, Fumiko Harada, & Hiromitsu Shimakawa
Manuscript
Received: 11, Jul., 2011 Revised: 15, Aug., 2011 Accepted: 30, Aug., 2011 Published: 30, Sep., 2011

Keywords
education, lecture, powerpoint, bidirectional, students understanding

Abstract Teachers often use presentation tools to provide teaching materials for lectures in universities. This paper proposes a method to insert supplement slides to help students suffering from understanding slides presented in a lecture. The system makes a lecture accommodated for the understanding level of students. We have applied this method to an actual lecture at a university to evaluate its effectiveness from the two points: how effective it is to improve understanding of students and how small the extra effort it needs for a teacher. We have succeeded in improving the understanding of students with this method, suppressing the teacher efforts.

understanding level for the contents of lecture during a lecture. Using handy terminal, we collect student reaction for the lecture as the student understanding level for the contents of lecture during a lecture. We have applied this method to an actual lecture at a university to evaluate its effectiveness from the two points: how effective it is to improve understanding of students and how small the extra effort it needs for a teacher.

2. Actual Status of One-to-Many Lecture


A.

1. Introduction
In the lecture of university, a teacher frequency uses the presentation tool such as Microsoft PowerPoint. A teacher makes the lecture slides to describe contents to teach in the class. A teacher explains slides in a predefined the order. It is likely to be a lecture which would be given from only one side that is only from a teacher. However, it is difficult for students to show their understanding level during a lecture to the teacher. The students cannot show their understanding to the teacher, and the teacher cannot recognize the student understanding. The students do not understand contents of succeeding slide, because a lecture progresses does not reflect their understanding. For the teacher to recognize the students understanding, various methods have been proposed [1]-[6]. However, the countermeasure for the students is taken after a lecture, but the countermeasure is not taken during a lecture. To resolve these problems, this paper shows a method to realize the lecture reflecting the students understanding during a lecture. The method supports to present slides according to the understanding of students. In this paper, we focus on classroom lectures which teachers give many students with presentation tools. Using handy terminal, we collect student reaction for the lecture as the student
This work was supported by the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Ritsumeikan University. Toru Hirose, Fumiko Harada and Hiromitsu Shimakawa are with Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Ritsumeikan University. ({toru, harada, simakawa}@gmail.com)

Different Background Knowledge The background knowledge students have mastered in past lectures are the premise in understanding of the current lecture. The background knowledge varies with students by the difference of learning environment and the change of curricula. The difference in background knowledge affects the student understanding levels for a lecture. If teachers try to make students understand lecture contents, they need to make consideration for the difference in background knowledge. But, in the actual status, the teachers grasp the student understanding levels by asking directly the students whether they understand or not. The teachers must accommodate to the difference of the background knowledge by dynamically editing the contents of the slides and drawing lines in a sentence with the marker. However, these methods with many work during the lecture is heavy strain for the teachers. B. Different Background Knowledge As the lectures reflecting the student understanding levels, the teachers give lectures bi-directionally with the feedback from the students to the teacher. According to the feedback from the students, the teachers improve the teaching material after the lecture and explain supplementary contents during the lecture. However, in the case of the lectures using presentation tools, the presentation order of the slides is limited to only the predefined one. Therefore, the teacher cannot fully explain the contents a student cannot understand with supplementary slides. To realize a bidirectional lecture, the existing studies support a teacher to grasp the student understanding levels with the response analyzer [1] and with questions on student computers [2]. In the response analyzer [1], a teacher gives the prepared question to the students and the students answer with the response analyzer. Based on the

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understanding levels estimated by the answers from the students, the method of the future lecture is improved. Therefore, the response analyzer can improve the lecture only with the questions prepared by the teacher. In [2], a teacher gives questions on student computers, and the student understanding levels are grasped from the percentage of the correct answers. However, because there can be cases of correct answers by chance, the exact understanding level cannot be grasped. In addition, although the current bidirectional lectures of [1] and [2] pinpoint the items which the students cannot understand, [1] and [2] have not presented a method with which a teacher improve the lecture based on the pinpointed items on site.

3. Dynamic Slide Presentation According to Understanding Levels


A. Lectures with Flexible Slide Presentation

negation about the understanding. We do not specify the timing to push these buttons. The reaction indicating the student understanding levels is collected with student pushes of these buttons in any timing when the students understand or do not understand the lecture contents. From the collected student reaction is projected as a bar graph on the screen installed in the classroom so that the students and the teacher can see it. The teacher can grasp the understanding level of the whole students during the lecture. Based on the collected students reaction, the system detects the slides which the students did not understand. If the teacher has prepared supplement slides for the detected slides in advance, the system suggests the teacher to present the supplement slides so that the students can understand. If the detected slides are ones which the teacher has not prepared supplement slides for, the teacher searches for the past slides with the slide search tool and explain with the found slides. In this method, the students can take lecture reflecting the student understanding levels by providing the reaction during the lecture. In addition, a teacher can give lectures according to the background knowledge of the students.

In this paper, we focus on the classroom lecture that a teacher teaches many students with a slide presentation tool. This paper proposes a system to enable flexible lectures in accordance with the student background knowledge. It grasps the student understanding levels and supports teachers to dynamically change the slide presentation according to the understanding levels. The method provides the way that a teacher grasps the understanding levels from the student reaction during a lecture with a device based on the response analyzer [1]. The system inserts slides which explain supplementary lecture contents which the students cannot understand. Therefore, the teacher can provide lectures reflecting the student understanding level. We show the perspective of the proposed method in Figure 1.

Lecture Scenario In past lectures using the slide presentation tools, the slides are presented in only a predefined order. The order of the presented slides cannot be dynamically changed reflecting the student understanding levels. In the proposed method, the teacher specifies the order and the condition to present the supplementary slides reflecting the student understanding level. The method support not only ordered presentation but also presentation by the choice. We refer to the order and the condition to present the slides as the lecture scenario. The lecture scenario can be configured to present the supplement slides to support the students to understand if the student understanding level is less than the specified threshold. The teacher makes a lecture scenario and lecture slides before the lecture. A lecture scenario specifies the important words of each slide, group of slides, and the threshold of the understanding level. We call the important words as the keywords. The teacher specifies keywords from the sentence of the slides or by a free description. There can be cases that a certain one matter is described in multiple slides to explain it in the lecture. The teacher specifies these slides to regard them as one group. As for the threshold of the understanding level, the teacher specifies how much the student understanding level is to present the supplement slides. The keywords given to the slides in the lecture scenario are also used for the slide search tool to search suitable slides. Suggest Slide by Reaction Figure 2 shows an example of the presentation of the slides reflecting the student reaction. Suppose that the slides "A" and "B" are the ones used to explain the steps to convert a program source file into an executable file. The keyword "Program" is given to the slide "A" and the keyword "compile" is given to the slide "B". The teacher defines that the slides "A" and "B" in the same group before the lecture. The specified group is supposed to be group "AB". The teacher also specifies that "the system suggests him to present the supplement slides "X" and "Y" if more C.

B.

Fig. 1. The Perspective of the Technique

The method provides 2 tools for teachers; one is used specify the condition and the order to present the slides, while the other is used to search for the slide which are used in past lectures. The former and latter tools are called the scenario making tool and the slide search tool, respectively. The scenario making tool enables for the teacher to make a lecture scenario to define the way of presentation of slides. In the method, the students have a device with 4 input buttons. We refer to this device is as the button device. The button device has four kinds of buttons assigned with the affirmation and the International Journal Publishers Group (IJPG)

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than 60 percent of the students do not understand the matter during he explains the group AB." The teacher gives a lecture with the slides and the lecture scenario. The students react for the slides with the button device during the lecture. When more than 60 percent of the students react not to understand during the teacher explains group "AB", the system informs the teacher that the suggestion condition is met and to suggest him to present the supplement slides. The supplement slides also have the keywords given before the lecture. The slides suggested him to present is chosen from the supplement slides which have the keywords same as the one specified in the slides the students do not understand. If the students do not understand slide "A" in Figure 2, for example, slide "X" with keyword "program" is chosen. Slide Search The students may also fail to understand slides the suggestion condition is not specified. Even if such reaction appears, the teacher does not prepare the supplement slides for the reaction because a teacher has do not predicted the reaction. In this case, when the teacher sizes up that the students do not understand from the bar graph projected on the screen, the teacher searches for the appropriate slides with the slide search tool. The teacher specifies a keyword which he should explain from ones given to the slides in the past. Slides with the word are found from the past slides to be presented. If there are many slides in the result of the search, the teacher decides the slides to use. The teacher explains the contents difficult for students to understand with the searched slides. D.

Fig. 3. The Presentation of the Preceding and the Succeeding Slides

4. Implementation
Making Lecture Scenario To make the lecture scenario authoring tool, we use Microsoft PowerPoint and C#. Figure 4 shows the screen shot of the lecture scenario authoring tool. This tool contains the four area, to display the thumbnails, to input the keywords, to divide the group, and to configure the threshold of the understanding level. The teacher chooses the slide from the thumbnails, and input the keywords. The teacher input the keywords at the center area. We prepare the two methods to input the keywords, writing text freely, and choosing from the sentences in the slides. The teacher can configure whether the chosen slides is the supplement slides in this area. The teacher configures the slide groups in the upper right area. The teacher uses the thumbnails to configure the slide group. The teacher configures the threshold of the understanding level in the lower right area. A.

Fig. 2. The Lecture Scenario

There can be a case that the content of the found slide is explained with many slides. The teacher needs to explain the contents of the preceding and the succeeding slides of the found slides. The slide search tool presents the preceding and the succeeding slides of one decided by the teacher to as shown in Figure 3. With this feature, the teacher can explain the contents which should be explained with many slides.

Fig. 4. Lecture Scenario Authoring Tool

This area contains some choices. The teacher specify the three items, what reaction, how much of percentage, and bigger of lower than the percentage. We added the item "If one or more students show the reaction not to understand", because the number of a PDA as a button device is limited. Registering Slides The teacher should register keywords to each slide to enable slide searching. For this purpose, we implement the server using a MySQL Database to store the slides, and
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B.

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Apache Tomcat to be accessed by the teacher terminal. We have also used Java servlet to implement the process to display the slides of search results from the database. This database has the two tables, to contain the lecture title, and to collect the information of the slides. We refer to the table contain the lecture title as lecture table, while the table collect the information of the slides as slide table. The lecture table has the lecture title and the IDs assigned to each lecture. The slide table has the slide title, the number of week along with the order of the slides, the keyword added to the slides, and the IDs of the lecture table. The IDs refer the title of the lecture which uses the slides. The search server has the slides as image. This system searches the slides which have keyword chosen from the database. C. Lecture with Lecture Scenario The bidirectional lecture system is composed with The PDA to send the reaction from the students The access point to receive the reaction The PC to display the graph on the screen and to store the students reaction on the statistics server The search server using MySQL database containing the slide information and the image of the slides The PC for teacher to lecture

Fig. 5. Result of Slide Search

Fig. 6. Screen Shot for Preceding and Succeeding Slides

C# program run while presenting the lecture material, to receive the event of slide. The students show the reaction for the lecture by the button device. The reaction is sent with wireless communication to the server. The PC for the teacher accesses the statistics server, and checks the students reaction. If the data of the students reaction satisfy the condition in the lecture scenario, the PC for the teacher suggests to present the supplement slides. The students also find a message to present the supplement slides, because the message to suggest is displayed on the screen, which notifies students of the appearance of the supplement slides. Slide Search Tool If there is the students reaction the teacher cannot predict, the teacher accesses the search server by web browser with PC for the teacher. The teacher specifies the keyword on the search form. When the keyword is sent, the slides have the keyword are shown. Figure 5 shows the screen shot to display the result of search. If the teacher wants to explain with the preceding and the succeeding slides, the teacher chooses the slides from the results, the preceding and the succeeding slides of the chosen slide are shown as in figure 6. The preceding slide is displayed at the lower left, and the succeeding slide is displayed at the lower right. The teacher chooses each slide, then the chosen slide is displayed widely, and the preceding and the succeeding slides of the chosen slide are shown. D.

5. Experiments, Evaluation and Discussion


Experimented Environment To validate whether the student understanding level is improved and it is reflected to their test scores by the proposed method, we have conducted an experiment to applying the proposed method to a lecture to the second grade students in the faculty of information and science, Ritsumeikan University, for ten weeks. This lecture is held in the later term of a specific year. A similar lecture to the third grade students is also held in the former term of the same year. In the lecture of the former term, though the teacher same to the later give lectures, the proposed method was not used. We evaluate the proposed method by comparison of the test scores of the students in the later lecture with those in the former one. In every week of the later lecture, we gather 16 voluntary examinees in average from about 120 students and the button devices to them. Each examinee freely pushes a button according to his understanding of the lecture contents during the lecture. The teacher gives lectures in conformity to the graph produced on the screen installed at the classroom, which shows the reaction of the examinees. We performed three times of small tests whose full score is one hundred in the lecture. We conducted exactly same tests in both of the lecture of the former term and the later term. In the end of the tenth week of the later lecture, all students in the lecture answer questionnaire for the proposed method. 57 students answer valid answers to A.

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International Journal of Advanced Computer Science, Vol. 1, No. 3, Pp. 100-105, Sep. 2011.

the questionnaire. In addition, we have measured the time to make the lecture scenario to see extra efforts of the teacher. The teacher who handles this lecture makes the lecture scenario. We conducted this experiment for 10 weeks. Experiments Result We show the average scores of the three small tests in the lectures in Table 1. For the average scores in the all tests, the scores of third grade students exceeded those of the second students. As the result of converting into one hundred score, the margin of the first test between the average score was 2.35, that of the second test result was 2.72, and that of the third test result was 11.35. In addition, the margin of the total score between the second grade students and the third grade students is 8.44. The total score was calculated from the number of answers and the number of correct answers because some students have not answered all tests. 80 percent of the second grade students answered the questionnaire that the supplement slides appearing during the lecture explained the contents which the students did not understand. We show the answers of other items of the questionnaire in Table 2. B.
TABLE 1 THE RESULT OF SMALL TEST IN THE LECTURES
1st test (point) 65.20 67.55 2.35 2nd test (point) 54.19 56.91 2.72 3rd test (point) 33.77 45.12 11.35 Total (point) 48.63 56.86 8.43

first week, while it does 33 seconds in the tenth week. It means the time is shortened.
TABLE 3 TIME TO MAKE A LECTURE SCENARIO
Time (min. : sec.) 29:54 32:13 23:13 30:19 11:54 12:18 19:20 22:02 12:59 21:34 The number of slides (sheets) 19 19 20 20 28 20 20 21 23 23 Average making time of one slide sheet (min. : sec.) 1:34 1:41 1:09 1:04 0:35 0:36 0:55 0:57 0:33

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Average

C.

Discussion

The later lecture (the 2nd grade) The former grade (the 3rd grade) Margin

TABLE 2 THE RESULT OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE


Question Did the supplement slides appear where you do not understand? Is the lecture what appear the supplement slides easy to understand? Is the explaining with the past slide easy to understand? Do you want to attend the lecture used the way to display the past slides? Evaluation (5-point scale) 3.07 3.75 3.86 4.00

The average score of the item of "Did the supplement slides appear where you do not understand?" was 3.07, that of "Is the lecture which used the supplement slides easy to understand?" was 3.75, and that of "Is the explaining with the past slides easy to understand?" was 3.86, which are affirmative evaluations. In addition, the average score of the item of "Do you want to attend the lecture using the way to display the past slides" is 4.00, which means there are many students to want to attend the lecture. We show the time to make the lecture scenario by the teacher in the Table 3. In week 3, the teacher cannot make the lecture scenario because he has no time because of the duties on campus. The average of the time to make the lecture scenario which indicates the extra effort is 21 minutes and 34 seconds. In comparing the time to make one piece of slide, it took the 1 minute and 34 seconds in the

In the results of the small tests, though the average scores of the third grade students are higher than those of the second grade students in all of the tests, their margins are extremely small. The third grade students have taken another lecture whose learning item is important for understanding the experimental lecture, while the second grade ones have not taken it. It means that the background knowledge were different between the third and second grade students. Considering the taken lectures and the time which the students have studied, the margins implies that the understanding level of the second grade has been improved. In addition, in the results of the questionnaire, the students have answered that the presentation of the supplement slides and the past slides reflecting the student understanding level is easy to understand and presents the slide when the students do not understand. This result means that the proposed method supports lectures for students to understand. In addition, since many students have answered that they want to take lectures using this method again, the students feel to profit by this method. About extra effort of a teacher, the time to make the lecture scenario is dependent on the number of slides. Because the time per one piece of slide is shorten by week, a teacher gets possible to make a lecture scenario with short time. By the proposed method, a teacher can give lectures according to the student understanding levels with little extra effort. About the points that should be improved in this method, we have heard to a teacher after the lecture. The points are that supplement slides should appear in the timing when the teacher specified and that a supplement slide for a group of slides should appear by giving a keyword to the group.

6. Conclusion
This paper shows the method to lecture reflecting the students understanding during a lecture by what a teacher is
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able to select the slides on the reaction of the students. In this method, a teacher makes a lecture material and a lecture scenario, the system suggests presenting the supplement slides. In addition, a teacher searches the slides from the slides used in the past lecture, and explain for the students for the reaction which a teacher has not predicted. We have applied this method to an actual lecture at university to evaluate the effectiveness of own method. In the experiment to evaluate effectiveness, it is to improve understanding; this method can raise the scores of the students, because we have used the method to the students which have little knowledge. In the experiment to measure the extra effort for the teacher, the time is shortened week by week. We will reflect the opinions provided by the interview with a teacher in future. In addition, we will apply to an actual lecture, and find the point which should be improved.

Toru Hirose was born in Japan in 1987. He is a student of the Graduate School of Science and Enginnering, Ritsumeikan University.

References
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Fumiko Harada received B.E. and M.E, and Ph.D degrees from Osaka University in 2003, 2004, and 2007, respectively. She joined Ritsumeikan University as an assistant professor in Ritsumeikan University in 2007, and is currently a lecturer. She engages in the research on real-time systems and data engineering. She is a member of IEEE. Hiromitsu Shimakawa was born in 1961. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Engineering from Kyoto University, Japan in 1999. From 2002, he has been a professor of Ritsumeikan University in Japan. His research interests include data mining and user interface. He is also interested in programming education. He is a member of IEEE and ACM.

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