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Building-In Quality Rather Than Assessing Quality Afterwards: A Technological Solution to Ensuring Computational Accuracy in Learning Materials Article

, University of Southern Queensland, Australia

JCMST Volume 27, Number 1, ISSN 0731-9258 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA

Abstract

Quality encompasses a very broad range of ideas in learning materials, yet the accuracy of the content is often overlooked as a measure of quality. Various aspects of accuracy are briefly considered, and the issue of computational accuracy is then considered further. When learning materials are produced containing the results of mathematical computations, accuracy is essential: but how can the results of these computations be known to be correct? A solution is to embed the instructions for performing the calculations in the materials, and let the computer calculate the result and place it in the text. In this way, quality is built into the learning materials by design, not evaluated after the event. This is all accomplished using the ideas of literate programming, applied to the learning materials context. A small example demonstrates how remarkably easy the ideas are to apply in practice using the appropriate technology. Given the technology is available and is easy to use, it would seem imperative the approach discussed is adopted to improve quality in learning materials containing computational results.

Citation

Dunn, P. (2008). Building-In Quality Rather Than Assessing Quality Afterwards: A Technological Solution to Ensuring Computational Accuracy in Learning Materials. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 27(1), 47-63. Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

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