2005 News Articles-Department of Biological Sciences - Carnegie Mellon University

Undergraduates grappling with genetics problems turn to cognitive tutor for guidance

Undergraduates grappling with genetics problems turn to cognitive tutor for guidanceWhen trying to solve problems in genetics, students rely on quantitative and logic-based skills. Because these skills cannot be learned by memorization, students need an interactive way to guide themselves through the problem solving involved in genetic science. Enter the genetics cognitive tutor, intelligent tutoring software developed by Linda Kauffman from the Department of Biological Sciences and Albert Corbett and Ben MacLaren from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII). Dr. Elizabeth Jones uses the genetics tutor to provide helpful feedback to students as they tackle complex genetics problems.

Funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation, the cognitive tutor has changed the way that students learn genetics. In the tutor, students are guided through the steps involved in solving each problem and can be provided with hints specific for each step along the way. The cognitive tutor allows for multiple pathways to the answer, and students are quickly notified if they have made a mistake.

Dr. Jones, the Dr. Frederick A. Schwertz Distinguished Professor of Life Science and head of the Department of Biological Sciences, believes that the tutor will help students reach expert skill levels in genetics problem solving.

Genetics Cognitive Tutor Web site
HHMI - Science Education News