Engaging in homework development: TARSIS platform as an innovative learning methodology
Homework assignments in engineering courses are still passive learning instruments that often appear as requirements rather than learning tools. This issue arises because the teaching team usually does not have the capabilities to provide real-time feedback, or to enable students to fix errors in a timely manner. To overcome this challenge, we developed a novel blended-like methodology for homework assignments called TARSIS. This methodology uses a platform to boosts the contribution of homework assignments in the learning process by using a non-penalised attempt mechanism for online solutions, combined with a real-time feedback scheme in both virtual and face-to-face environments. In this study, we describe the methodology and use mixed-method research to assess the performance of TARSIS. Performance data were compared quantitatively with a previous cohort. Moreover, open-ended questions from surveys, interviews, and data from focus groups were qualitatively analysed. Results indicate that students enrolled with TARSIS achieved higher performance in both homework assignments and exams. Furthermore, students’ perceptions demonstrate higher enthusiasm and motivation towards the value of homework assignments as mechanisms to promote learning. Effectiveness related to the attempt mechanism and real-time feedback is subsequently explained under key concepts of the socio-cultural vision of education such as reification and participation.
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