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Abstract

Capstone projects usually represent the most significant academic endeavor with which students have been involved. Time management tends to be one of the hurdles. On top, University students are prone to procras-tinatory behavior. Inexperience and procrastination team up for students failing to meet deadlines. Supervisors strive to help. Yet heavy workloads frequently prevent tutors from continuous involvement. This article looks into the extent to which conversational agents (a.k.a. chatbots) can tackle procrastination in single-student capstone projects. Specifically, chatbot enablers put in play include (1) alerts, (2) advice, (3) automatic rescheduling, (4) motivational messages, and (5) reference to previous capstone projects. Informed by Cogni-tive Behavioural Theory, these enablers are framed within the three phases involved in self-regulation mis-alignment: pre-actional, actional, and post-actional. To motivate this research, we first analyzed 77 capstone-project reports. We found that students' Gantt charts (1) fail to acknowledge review meetings (70%) and milestones (100%) and (2) suffer deviations from the initial planned effort (16.28%). On these grounds, we develop GanttBot, a Telegram chatbot that is configured from the student's Gantt diagram. GanttBot reminds students about close landmarks, it informs tutors when intervention might be required, and it learns from previous projects about common pitfalls, advising students accordingly. For evaluation purposes, course 17/18 acts as the control group (N = 28) while course 18/19 acts as the treatment group (N = 25 students). Using "overdue days" as the proxy for procrastination, results indicate that course 17/18 accounted for an average of 19 days of delay (SD = 5), whereas these days go down to 10 for the intervention group in course 18/19 (SD = 4). GanttBot is available for public usage as a Telegram chatbot.

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In computer science, procrastination and related problems with managing programming projects are viewed as primary causes of student attrition. Unfortunately, the most successful techniques for reducing procrastination (such as courses in study skills) are resource-intensive and do not scale to large classrooms. In this paper, we describe three course interventions that are designed to be scalable for large classrooms and require few resources to implement. Reflective writing assignments require students to consciously consider how their time management choices impact their classroom performance. Schedule sheets force students to actively plan out the time required to solve a programming project. Email alerts inform students of their progress relative to their peers as they work on an assignment, and suggest ways to improve behavior if their progress is found to be unsatisfactory. We implemented these interventions in a junior-level data structures course and analyzed data from 330 students over two semesters. Separate analyses of reflective writing responses, schedule sheet contents, and e-mail alert contents are discussed, along with student opinions about the value and effectiveness of each treatment. We found a statistically significant relationship between the time when work is completed and its quality, with late work being of lower quality. We found that one of the three interventions had a statistically significant effect on reducing late work: e-mail alerts sent to students to make them more aware of how they were doing with respect to expectations were associated with both a reduction in assignments completed late, and an increase in assignments completed at least one day early. This result was found despite the fact that students reported subjectively that e-mail alerts were of marginal utility.
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Research has documented that most college students delay on academic tasks. Surprisingly, graduate students may procrastinate on academic tasks even more than do undergraduate students. Perfectionism also has been found to be high among graduate students. It is likely that for graduate students, delaying academic tasks such as writing a term paper is indicative of perfectionism. Thus, this study investigated the relationship between academic procrastination and perfectionism among 135 graduate students, who were administered the Procrastination Assessment Scale-Students and the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale. A canonical correlation analysis revealed that fear of failure, a component of academic procrastination was related to self-oriented perfectionism and socially prescribed perfectionism. Other-oriented perfectionism, the third dimension of perfectionism, acted as a suppressor variable. Implications are discussed.
Article
Applied learning pedagogies—including service-learning, internships/practica, study abroad, and undergraduate research—have in common both the potential for significant student learning and the challenges of facilitating and assessing that learning, often in non-traditional ways that involve experiential strategies outside the classroom as well as individualized outcomes. Critical reflection oriented toward well-articulated learning outcomes is key to generating, deepening, and documenting student learning in applied learning. This article will consider the meaning of critical reflection and principles of good practice for designing it effectively and will present a research-grounded, flexible model for integrating critical reflection and assessment.
Article
With the rapid growth in online programs come concerns about how best to support student learning in this segment of the university population. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of effort regulation, a self-regulatory skill, and intrinsic motivation on online graduate students' levels of academic procrastination, behavior that can adversely affect both the quality and quantity of student work. This research was guided by one primary question: Are online graduate students' intrinsic motivation and use of effort regulation strategies predictive of procrastination? Results indicated that as intrinsic motivation to learn and effort regulation decrease, procrastination increases. Specific strategies for encouraging effort regulation and intrinsic motivation in online graduate students are presented.
Conference Paper
Traditionally conversational interfaces, such as chatbots, have been created in two distinct ways. Either by using natural language parsing methods or by creating conversational trees that utilise the natural Zipf curve distribution of conversations using a tool like AIML. This work describes a hybrid method where conversational trees are developed for specific types of conversations, and then through the use of a bespoke scripting language, called OwlLang, domain knowledge is extracted from semantic web ontologies. New knowledge obtained through the conversations can also be stored in the ontologies allowing an evolving knowledge base. The paper describes two case studies where this method has been used to evaluate TEL by surveying users, firstly about the experience of using a learning management system and secondly about students’ experiences of an intelligent tutor system within the I-TUTOR project.
Article
We discuss a large research project aimed at building socially expressive virtual health agents or assistants (VHA) that can deliver brief motivational interventions (BMI) for behavior change, in a communication style that individuals and patients not only accept, but also find emotionally supportive and socially appropriate. Because of their well-defined sequential structure, BMIs lend themselves well to automation, and are adaptable to address a variety of target behaviors, from obesity, to alcohol and drug use, to lack treatment adherence, among others. We discuss the advantages that VHAs provide for the delivery of health interventions. We describe components of our intelligent agent architecture that enables our virtual health agents to dialogue with users in realtime while delivering the appropriate intervention based on the patient’s specific needs at the time. We conclude by identifying open research challenges in developing virtual health agents.
Article
Procrastination can be a persistent behavior pattern associated with personal distress. However, research investigating different treatment interventions is scarce, and no randomized controlled trial has examined the efficacy of cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT). Meanwhile, Internet-based CBT has been found promising for several conditions, but has not yet been used for procrastination. Participants (N = 150) were randomized to guided self-help, unguided self-help, and wait-list control. Outcome measures were administered before and after treatment, or weekly throughout the treatment period. They included the Pure Procrastination Scale, the Irrational Procrastination Scale, the Susceptibility to Temptation Scale, the Montgomery Åsberg Depression Rating Scale-Self-report version, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Assessment, and the Quality of Life Inventory. The intention-to-treat principle was used for all statistical analyses. Mixed-effects models revealed moderate between-groups effect sizes comparing guided and unguided self-help with wait-list control; the Pure Procrastination Scale, Cohen's d = 0.70, 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.29, 1.10], and d = 0.50, 95% CI [0.10, 0.90], and the Irrational Procrastination Scale, d = 0.81 95% CI [0.40, 1.22], and d = 0.69 95% CI [0.29, 1.09]. Clinically significant change was achieved among 31.3-40.0% for guided self-help, compared with 24.0-36.0% for unguided self-help. Neither of the treatment conditions was found to be superior on any of the outcome measures, Fs(98, 65.17-72.55) < 1.70, p > .19. Internet-based CBT could be useful for managing self-reported difficulties due to procrastination, both with and without the guidance of a therapist. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
In this paper, we discuss the results of a study which was aimed at investigating which forms of empathy may be induced by ECAs on users, how empathy can be measured and which aspects of the ECA's behaviour may increase this effect. The study was performed with a Wizard of Oz tool which enabled us to vary easily the agent's behaviour, and involved subjects with different backgrounds.
Article
This paper presents an approach to elicitation and correction of intuitive forecasts, which attempts to retain the valid component of intuitive judgments while correcting some biases to which they are prone. This approach is applied to two tasks that experts are often required to perform in the context of forecasting and in the service of decision making: the prediction of values and the assessment of confidence intervals. The analysis of these judgments reveals two major biases: non-regressiveness of predictions and overconfidence. Both biases are traced to people's tendency to give insufficient weight to certain types of information, e.g., the base-rate frequency of outcomes and their predictability. The corrective procedures described in this paper are designed to elicit from experts relevant information which they would normally neglect, and to help them integrate this information with their intuitive impressions in a manner that respects basic principles of statistical prediction.
Article
The benefits of Internet-based health promotion programmes are much discussed, yet the literature on their feasibility and utility is limited. Here, we evaluate an Internet-based exercise motivation and action support system (Test system), relative to a group receiving no intervention (Reference) and another receiving a less interactive version of the same system (Control). We report results from a 10-week pilot study with 75 participants aged 23–54 years. We found that, relative to the control system and reference group, the more interactive (test) system was more engaging (better user retention), created higher expectations for exercise, greater satisfaction with motivation and increased self-perception of fitness. Seven months after the intervention, participants who used the test system reported greater levels of increase in exercise than the control or reference groups. Our study adds to the growing body of evidence on the benefits of interactive systems and the role they could play in health promotion programmes. However, it should also be noted that not all Web-based systems offer the same level of advantage; careful design is crucial to ensure that key messages are clearly communicated to attentive users. Further research is required to identify the optimum interactive system design principles, across a range of user types.
Article
In "Losing Control," the authors provide a single reference source with comprehensive information on general patterns of self-regulation failure across contexts, research findings on specific self-control disorders, and commentary on the clinical and social aspects of self-regulation failure. Self-control is discussed in relation to what the "self" is, and the cognitive, motivational, and emotional factors that impinge on one's ability to control one's "self." (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Heckhausen and Heckhausen give an extensive and in-depth overview of the diverse lines of research in motivational psychology, in terms of its historical foundations, up-to-date conceptual developments, and empirical research. The major classes of motivated behavior, such as achievement, affiliation, and power, are addressed, and the critical processes involved in motivation and volition are discussed in detail. Different conceptual and empirical lines of research, such as implicit/explicit motivation, intrinsic/extrinsic motivation/volition, causal attribution, childhood and lifespan development, education, personality, and psychopathology, are integrated and analyzed as to the common issues and phenomena they address, thus providing a most useful guideline for understanding debates in current motivational, educational, personality, and social psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Book
Notations. Preface. Part I: Project Management: Basics and Scheduling Problems. 1. The Project Management Process. 2. Project Planning and Control. 3. Resource-Constrained Scheduling Problems. Part II: Resource-Constrained Project Scheduling: Solution Methods. 4. Lower Bound Methods. 5. Heuristic Procedures. 6. Exact Procedures. 7. Computational Expirements. 8. Summary and Conclusions. References. Index.
Article
People tend to underestimate how long it will take to complete tasks. We suggest that one reason people commit this planning fallacy is that they do not naturally “unpack” multifaceted tasks (e.g., writing a manuscript) into subcomponents (completing the literature review, general discussion, references section, etc.) when making predictions. We tested this interpretation by asking participants to estimate how long it would take them to complete one of several tasks: holiday shopping in Experiment 1, “getting ready” for a date in Experiment 2, formatting a document in Experiments 3 and 5, and preparing food in Experiment 4. Participants prompted to unpack the task provided longer—and, in Experiments 3–4, less biased—estimates of how long the task would take than did participants who did not. Experiment 5 showed that the debiasing influence of unpacking is moderated by task complexity: the more multifaceted the task, the greater the influence of unpacking.
Article
This article reports two studies exploring the academic procrastination of 456 undergraduates. Study 1 explores the relationships among academic procrastination, self-regulation, academic self-efficacy, self-esteem, and self-efficacy for self-regulation. Results reveal that although other self-variables are related to procrastination, self-efficacy for self-regulation is most predictive of procrastination tendencies. Study 2 examines academic and motivation characteristics of “negative procrastinators,” the undergraduates who are most adversely influenced by procrastination. The 25% of 195 participants in Study 2 who were classified as negative procrastinators had significantly lower GPAs, higher levels of daily and task procrastination, lower predicted and actual class grades, and lower self-efficacy for self-regulation. After controlling for GPA, daily procrastination and self-efficacy for self-regulation significantly predicted the negative impact of procrastination. The article concludes with a discussion of the importance that self-efficacy for self-regulation holds for procrastination research, and with suggestions for practitioners who work with students who are adversely affected by procrastination.
Conference Paper
Intelligent tutoring systems are computer learning systems which personalise their learning content for an individual, based on learner characteristics such as existing knowledge. A recent extension to ITS is to capture student learning styles using a questionnaire and adapt subject content accordingly, however students do not always take the time to complete questionnaires carefully. This paper describes Oscar, a conversational intelligent tutoring system (CITS) which utilises a conversational agent to conduct the tutoring. The CITS aims to mimic a human tutor by dynamically estimating and adapting to a student's learning style during a tutoring conversation. Oscar also offers intelligent solution analysis and problem support for learners. By implicitly modelling the student's learning style during tutoring, Oscar can personalise tutoring to each individual learner to improve the effectiveness of the tutoring. The paper presents the novel methodology and architecture for constructing a CITS. An initial pilot study has been conducted in the domain of tutoring of undergraduate Science and Engineering students using the Index of Learning Styles ILS) model. The experiments to investigate the estimation of learning style have produced encouraging results in the estimation of learning style through a tutoring conversation.
Conference Paper
This paper reports on a quantitative evaluation of five years of data collected in the first three programming courses at Virginia Tech. The dataset involves a total of 89,879 assignment submissions by 1,101 different students. Assignment results were partitioned into two groups: scores above 80% (A/B) and scores below 80% (C/D/F). To investigate student behaviors that result in differing levels of achievement, all students who consistently received A/B scores and all students who consistently received C/D/F scores were removed from the dataset. A within-subjects comparison of the scores received by the remaining individuals was performed. Further, time and code-size data that is difficult to compare directly between different courses was normalized. This study revealed several significant results. When students received A/B scores, they started earlier and finished earlier than when the same students received C/D/F scores. They also wrote slightly more program code. They did not appear to spend any more time on their work, however. Approximately two-thirds of the A/B scores were received by individuals who started more than a day in advance of the deadline, while approximately two-thirds of the C/D/F scores were received by individuals who started on the last day or later. One possible explanation is that students who start earlier simply have more time to seek assistance when they get stuck.
  • Albert Bandura
Albert Bandura. 2010. Self-efficacy. Corsini Encycl. Psychol. (2010), 1-3.
Official GanttProject Repository. Bard Software
  • Dmitry Barashev
Dmitry Barashev. 2019. Official GanttProject Repository. Bard Software. May 10, 2020 from https://github.com/ bardsoftware/ganttproject.
Virtual health agents for behavior change: Research perspectives and directions
  • W P Brinkman
  • Brinkman W. P.
W. P. Brinkman. 2016. Virtual health agents for behavior change: Research perspectives and directions. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Graphical and Robotic Embodied Agents for Therapeutic Systems, Los Angeles, CA, USA, 20-23 September 2016.