Jason A. Walonoski

Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, United States

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Publications (10)0 Total impact

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    Jason A. Walonoski, Neil T. Heffernan
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    ABSTRACT: A major issue in Intelligent Tutoring Systems is off-task student behavior, especially performance-based gaming, where students systemati- cally exploit tutor behavior in order to advance through a curriculum quickly and easily, with as little active thought directed at the educational content as possible. The goal of this research was to explore the phenomena of off- task gaming behavior within the Assistments system. Machine-learned gaming-detection models were developed to investigate underlying factors related to gaming, and an analysis of gaming within the Assistments system was conducted to compare some of the findings of prior studies.
    Intelligent Tutoring Systems, 8th International Conference, ITS 2006, Jhongli, Taiwan, June 26-30, 2006, Proceedings; 01/2006
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    ABSTRACT: The Common Tutor Object Platform (CTOP) was designed as a lightweight component framework for creating and deploying applications relating to Intelligent Tutoring Systems and e- Learning. The CTOP supports a runtime for intelligent tutoring system content deployment, a content development environment, an extensive reporting tool, and other smaller applications. The CTOP was designed with future development in mind, allowing easy specification of new base objects and extension points for future development. It has been used as the foundation of the Assistments Project, a wide scale server based ITS deployment. This paper documents the software engineering side, and has been submitted in conjunction with a second paper detailing the educational results (5). The Assistments Project is capable of supporting a quarter of targeted students in Massachusetts, and optimistically scalable to the entire state and beyond.
    01/2006;
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    Jason A. Walonoski, Neil T. Heffernan
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    ABSTRACT: A major issue in Intelligent Tutoring Systems is off-task student behavior, especially performance-based gaming, where students systematically exploit tutor behavior in order to advance through a curriculum quickly and easily, with as little active thought directed at the educational content as possible. This research developed both active interventions to combat gaming and passive interventions to prevent gaming. Our passive graphical intervention has been well received by teachers, and our experimental results suggest that using a combination of intervention types is effective at reducing off-task gaming behavior.
    Intelligent Tutoring Systems, 8th International Conference, ITS 2006, Jhongli, Taiwan, June 26-30, 2006, Proceedings; 01/2006
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    ABSTRACT: The eXtensible Tutor Architecture (XTA) was designed as a platform for creating and deploying many types of Intelligent Tutoring Systems across many different platforms. The XTA presently has support for state graph pseudo-tutors and JESS model-tracing cognitive tutors, in both a client and server context. Supported interfaces are presently Java Swing / WebStart and HTML. The XTA was designed with future development in mind, allowing easy specification of new tutor types, tutoring strategies, and interface layers. It has been used as the foundation of the Assistments Project, a wide scale server based ITS deployment. The Assistments Project is on track to provide ITS content to 100,000 students in the state of Massachusetts. 1. Introduction & Background This research was conducted to develop a scalable, stable framework for deploying Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) of many types to a variety of platforms. The term Intelligent Tutoring Systems covers a wide range of possible computer-based tutors, from cognitive model tracing tutors (3), constraint-based tutors (10), to pseudo-tutors. Pseudo- tutors are simplified cognitive models based on state graphs. The state graphs of pseudo- tutors are finite graphs with each node representing a state of the interface, and each arc representing an action made by a student. Student actions trigger transitions in the graph, and the current state of the problem is represented by the graph. Pseudo-tutors are behaviorally equivalent to rule-based tutors (1). Our research attempted to support all these types of tutors, but provide a clear path for future development and customization. Additionally, our research was dependent on the needs of the Assistments Project. This project required that we be able to support the full range of tutors, provide stability and scalability, and deliver tutoring content to a host of clients - either rich client applications such as Java WebStart, or thin light-weight HTML clients (possibly enriched by scripts and Macromedia Flash). To accomplish these client interface goals, we were required to follow software engineering practice by cleanly separating the logic and presentation of tutors.
    Artificial Intelligence in Education - Supporting Learning through Intelligent and Socially Informed Technology, Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, AIED 2005, July 18-22, 2005, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 01/2005
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    ABSTRACT: Middle school mathematics teachers are often forced to choose between assisting students' development and assessing students' abilities because of limited classroom time available. To help teachers make better use of their time, we are integrating assistance and assessment by utilizing a web-based system ("Assistment") that will offer instruction to students while providing a more detailed evaluation of their abilities to the teacher than is possible under current approaches. An initial version of the Assistment system was created and used last May with about 200 students and 800 students are using it this year once every two weeks. The hypothesis is that Assistments both assist students while also assessing them. This paper describes the Assistment system and some preliminary results.
    Artificial Intelligence in Education - Supporting Learning through Intelligent and Socially Informed Technology, Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, AIED 2005, July 18-22, 2005, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 01/2005
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    ABSTRACT: Without Abstract
    01/1970: pages 23-49;
  • Jason A. Walonoski, Neil T. Heffernan
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A major issue in Intelligent Tutoring Systems is off-task student behavior, especially performance-based gaming, where students systemati- cally exploit tutor behavior in order to advance through a curriculum quickly and easily, with as little active thought directed at the educational content as possible. The goal of this research was to develop a passive visual indicator to deter and prevent off-task gaming behavior without active intervention, via graphical feedback to the student and teachers. Traditional active inter- vention approaches were also constructed for comparison purposes. Our passive graphical intervention has been well received by teachers, and re- sults suggest that this technique is effective at reducing off-task gaming be- havior.
  • RYAN BAKER, JASON WALONOSKI, NEIL HEFFERNAN
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years there has been increasing interest in the phe - nomena of "gaming the system," where a learner attempts to succeed in an educational environment by exploiting proper - ties of the system's help and feedback rather than by attempt - ing to learn the material. Developing environments that respond constructively and effectively to gaming depends uponunderstandingwhystudentschoosetogame.Inthisarti - cle, we present three studies, conducted with two different learning environments, which present evidence on which stu - dentbehaviors,motivations,andemotionsareassociatedwith the choice to game the system. We also present a fourth study to determine how teachers' perspectives on gaming behavior are similar to, and different from, researchers' perspectives and the data from our studies. We discuss what motivational and attitudinal patterns are associated with gaming behavior across studies, and what the implications are for the design of interactive learning environment.