Attention: This site looks better in the latest Mozilla or Internet Explorer.

The Learning Conference 2003

Home | Newsletter | Call for Papers | Register

Presentation Details


C-Tools: Concept-Connector Tools for Online Learning in Science

Douglas Luckie.

An interdisciplinary team of faculty from Michigan State University have completed the first year of a three-year National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project to develop and validate a new assessment tool, the Concept Connector, consisting of a web-based, concept mapping Java applet with automatic scoring and feedback functionality. The value of knowledge scaffolding tools such as concept maps, flow charts and venn diagrams is that they reveal student understanding about the direct relationships and organization among many concepts, elements not easily assessed by multiple choice questions or even extended responses. The tool has been designed to enable students in large introductory science classes to visualize their thinking online and receive immediate formative feedback. The Concept Connector’s flexible scoring system, based on tested scoring schemes as well as instructor input, has enabled automatic and immediate online scoring of concept map homework. The Concept Connector has been successful in ‘making transparent’ when students do not understand concepts and has motivated students to address these deficiencies. The validity of the Concept Connector is being determined by a ‘design’ experiment that involves testing the tool with undergraduate science-majors in introductory biology, geology, physics and chemistry courses. A cohort of over 1000 students, those enrolled in participating courses, are being recruited to test the effectiveness of the tool to assess (mis)understanding.


Douglas Luckie  (United States)
Associate Professor
Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab Department of Physiology and Lyman Briggs School
Michigan State University

Doug Luckie is an Associate Professor jointly appointed in the Lyman Briggs School (a residential science and liberal arts program) and in the Department of Physiology at Michigan State University. He pursues both his discipline-based physiology research into the disease, cystic fibrosis (CF), as well as, creative scholarship and research about teaching and learning in the sciences.

  • Online learning
  • Biology
  • Concept maps
  • Visual modeling

(30 min Conference Paper, English)