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Title: Snap-drift neural computing for intelligent diagnostic feedback
Author: Habte, Samson
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 3006
Awarding Body: London Metropolitan University
Current Institution: London Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2017
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Information and communication technologies have been playing a crucial role in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of learning and teaching in higher education. Two decades ago, research studies were focused on how to use artificial intelligence techniques to imitate teachers or tutors in delivering learning sessions. Machine learning techniques have been applied in several research studies to construct a student model in the context of intelligent tutoring systems. However, the usage of intelligent tutoring systems has been very limited in higher education as most educational institutions are in favour of using virtual learning environments (VLEs). VLEs are computer-based systems that support all aspects of teaching and learning from provision of course materials to managing coursework. In this research study, the emphasis is on the assessment aspect of VLEs. A literature review revealed that existing computer-based formative assessments have never utilised unsupervised machine learning to improve their feedback mechanisms. Machine learning techniques have been applied to construct student models, which is represented as categories of knowledge levels such as beginning, intermediate and advanced. The student model does not specify what concepts are understood, the gap of understanding and misconceptions. Previously, a snap-drift modal learning neural network has been applied to improve the feedback mechanisms of computer-based formative assessments. This study investigated the application of snap-drift modal learning neural network for analysing student responses to a set of multiple choice questions to identify student groups. This research study builds on this previous study and its aim is to improve the effectiveness of the application of snap-drift modal learning neural network in modelling student responses to a set of multiple choice questions and to extend its application in modelling student responses gathered from object-oriented programming exercises. A novel method was proposed and evaluated using trials that improves the effectiveness of snap-drift modal learning neural network in identifying useful student group profiles, representing them to facilitate generation of diagnostic feedback and assigning an appropriate diagnostic feedback automatically based on a given student response. Based on the insight gained into the use of this novel method, we extend it to identify useful student group profiles that represent different programming abilities for writing an object-oriented class. The purpose of identifying student group profiles is to facilitate construction of diagnostic feedback that improves the development of basic object-oriented programming abilities. Overall, the main objectives of this research project were addressed successfully. New insights are gained into the application of unsupervised learning in general and snap-drift modal learning in particular. The proposed methods are capable of improving the feedback mechanisms of existing computer-based formative assessment tools. The improved computer-based formative assessments could have a huge impact on students in improving conceptual understanding of topics and development of basic object-oriented programming abilities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: 000 Computer science ; information & general works ; 370 Education