Log files from Web-based problem solving as correlates of mindful engagement

Date of Completion

January 2004


Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Cognitive|Education, Technology of




The engagement of classrooms in a theme-based curriculum, as reported by teachers, was used to determine if there was relationship between the level of student participation and their success on an anchor problem by attempting to establish a link between observable online performance and reported observations of curricular engagement. In this study two research problems were addressed. The first was to determine if the amount of exposure to a theme-based curriculum was a predictor of success in solving a complex problem. To study this problem, surveys were used to determine the amount of a theme-based as well as other science related curriculum used in classrooms. Students completed a problem scenario where they made decisions and wrote a paragraph to justify their actions while problem solving. The scores on the curriculum survey and the justification were used in a regression equation to determine if the level of curricular exposure was a predictor of problem-solving success. The results of this analysis indicated that for this sample there was a negative relationship between the level of student participation in the theme-based curriculum and the success on an anchor problem-solving scenario. The second research problem concerned differences among students with varying levels of exposure to a theme based curriculum with respect to the time spent solving a problem (dwell time), the numbers of nodes (pages) visited, email justification score, and navigation path. Results indicated that the amount of curriculum exposure was not a significant indicator for the email justification; however, it was related to the time students spent on the problem, the number of nodes visited, and their navigation paths. It was also found that purposeful design of the problem scenario as an anchored assessment affords greater interpretability of the log files. This study, along with the recommended online problem design principles, is potentially a significant beginning toward a program of research concerning log files of online problem solving as a window on mindful engagement within the information domain of science and mathematics. ^