Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Physics & Astronomy

First Advisor

Andrew S Hirsch

Second Advisor

Lynn A Bryan

Committee Member 1

Laura J Pyrak-Nolte

Committee Member 2

Hisao Nakanishi


One of the many roles of university instructors is to provide help to students throughout the semester - especially in the form of feedback on homework. Personalized feedback from the instructor might be possible in a small classroom setting, but becomes unmanageable when class sizes grow to dozens or even hundreds of students. As a result, universities are turning to computerized homework systems that guide students through problems and provide focused grades and feedback.