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CLeaR Fellows 2014 – Associate Professor Gerard Rowe

Overcoming learning obstacles

Associate Professor Gerard RoweGerard joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in 1984 and is currently Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning). He has taught at all levels and is particularly interested in identifying and correcting student conceptual misunderstandings and in curriculum and course design. His educational research concentrates on the secondary-to-tertiary transition, on threshold concepts and on the development of intelligent tutoring systems. His numerous teaching awards include a 2004 National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award (Sustained Excellence in Teaching) and a 2005 Australasian Association for Engineering Education award (Excellence in Engineering Education, Teaching and Learning).

Gerard plans to use the Fellowship year to continue research in addressing student misconceptions by enhancing a tutoring tool (Oasis) to become an intelligent tutoring system that:

  • Models a student (diagnostic testing to probe misconceptions).
  • Identifies the student’s learning style.
  • Looks at how students develop and respond to the tests.
  • Provides questions adaptively.

The challenges: 

  • Oasis hasn’t gained much traction after 15 years of development by various people.
  • The authoring tools are a barrier, because they require good knowledge of computing.