MechSE Associate Professor Matt West and several colleagues at Illinois developed PrairieLearn, a highly adaptable testing ecosystem, to help students practice material as often as they wanted. It has grown in importance on the campus – especially since the pandemic – and exemplifies how some institutions are using technology to focus on discouraging cheating before it happens, rather than penalizing students after the fact.
His “Introductory Dynamics” course can have as many as 600 students enrolled in a single semester. Adequately assessing each one’s mastery of the material in a course that size is a challenging enough task in normal times, but it’s even harder these days. Like most college courses over the past eight months, West’s has been forced online by COVID-19.