Learning and evaluation without access to schools during COVID-19

by   Gunnar Stefansson, et al.

The tutor-web drilling system is designed for learning so there are typically no limits on the number of attempts at improving performance. This system is used at multiple schools and universities in Iceland and Kenya, mostly for mathematics and statistics. Students earn SmileyCoin, a cryptocurrency, while studying. In Iceland the system has typically been used by students who use their own devices to solve homework assignments during the semester, accessing the Internet-based tutor-web at http://tutor-web.net. These students typically take final exams on paper at the end of the semester. In Kenya the system is a part of a plan to enhance mathematics education using educational technology, organised by the Smiley Charity with the African Maths Initiative. This has been done by donating servers running the tutor-web to schools and tablets to students. Typically these schools do not have Internet access so the cryptocurrency can not be used. Innovative redesign was needed during COVID-19 in spring, 2020, since universities in Iceland were not able to host in-house finals and schools in Kenya were closed so tablets could not be donated directly to students. Remote finals were held in Iceland but the implementation was largely in the hands of the instructors. In Kenya, community libraries remained open and became a place for students to come in to study. Innovations included using the tutor-web as a remote drilling system in place of final exams in a large undergraduate course in statistics and donating tablets to libraries in Kenya. These libraries all have access to the Internet and the students have therefore been given the option to purchase the tablet using their SmileyCoin. This paper describes these implementations and how this unintended experiment will likely affect the future development and use of the tutor-web in both countries.



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