Misconception clarification in online graduate courses

Jennifer Mansfield, Terry Alford, N. David Theodore

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


"Muddy Points" (MP) is a commonly used instructional reflection tool used to collect feedback about student learning issues and points of confusion. This feedback can be leveraged to enhance student learning and further optimize an instructor's course delivery. If used appropriately, this method can help students monitor their construction of knowledge and contribute to their self-regulation of learning. This then leads to deeper conceptual learning and improved achievement of their learning goals. In a face-to-face classroom setting, Muddy Points are typically collected at the end of a class session. Feedback or response to comments are usually addressed at the beginning of the next class session. This paper investigates if a MP process can be effective in an online course setting. It also investigates and shares best practices that would be needed for a successful implementation. The modified Muddy Points methodology includes four steps: 1) collection of student reflections of unclear concepts; 2) assessment of student reflections in order to identify misconceptions that can keep students from achieving learning outcomes; 3) generating formative feedback, and 4) selecting and using delivery tool that quickly provides formative feedback to students. This process was implemented and studied in two fully online Materials Science courses. In one course, all of the steps were used and in the other, only the first step was implemented. Mid-semester survey data supports the notion that this type of formative assessment can be performed effectively in an online setting if implemented with careful consideration and adherence to ALL of the four steps. This paper shares data from both classes, the technologies used, and recommendations for the implementation of this process in other online courses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 23 2018
Event125th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Salt Lake City, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2018Dec 27 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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