ASU Researchers Developing Semantic Teaching Tools


Sydney B. Donaldson of reports, "Teaching just got a little bit easier, thanks to researchers at ASU's College of Technology and Innovation who are developing a software tool that will help instructors design more personalized courses. The software uses customized guidance to incorporate activities and assessments to meet individualized learning goals and outcomes. Experts say goal-oriented teaching methods, or outcome-based education, create a more cohesive learning experience, and the web-based software tool will serve as a bridge between instructor-created curriculum and program goals. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Instructional Module Development System (IMOD) is currently being developed by college faculty Odesma Dalrymple, Srividya Bansal and Ashraf Gaffar. The tool will first be developed specifically for instructors teaching science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses, but the technology can be extended for use at any level and category of learning."

Donaldson continues, "Dalrymple says the program will be easy for any professor to use. The software will first help the instructor define appropriate end goals for a course while guiding the instructor through selecting instructional activities and assessments based on those end goals. Throughout designing a course, instructors will be taken through self-paced training that will provide expert guidance in developing a course around learning outcomes. Software algorithms will allow the program to query and infer new knowledge, creating a semantic program that learns as the professor uses the tool. The semantic program will in turn be able to alert the professor when selected instructional activities or assessments do not align with the defined course outcomes."

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Image: Courtesy Flickr/ Teacher McKinley