Online Physics Tutorial with Branching

a.k.a. PhAQ (Physics Adaptive Questioning)

Jeff Phillips
Physics Department


Academic Technology Grant Showcase
April 8, 2008


With this project I wanted to create a teaching tool that would provide students with personalized, instantaneous feedback. Since the system is meant to guide students to the correct conclusions via Socratic dialogue, rather than punitive grading, wrong responses are allowed, but are then followed up with additional questions or observations.

In addition to helping the students better understand the concepts of physics, I expect that this system will help students alter their thought process. Some students do not value reflection or believe that they have the skills to figure out the answer on their own. These students simply default to the authority for the information. By modeling the kind of self-regulated learning that we hope they engage in, I want to see if some students actually change their personal epistemologies.

Many thanks go out to Matt Bazaar, Mindy Colin and Haejung Chung who assisted me with the technical issues related to this project.

(This talk, and others related to similar research, can be found at