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Paired CAD for learning, inspired by pair programming for coding

Hi folks,
I'm an engineering researcher at the University of Toronto, interested in studying collaboration in CAD, as well as CAD learning. Something we're working on is looking at partnered CAD; we're inspired by the popular method of pair programming https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pair_programming in the field of computer programming (here's a really cool long-read about a famous pair programming duo at Google: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/12/10/the-friendship-that-made-google-huge). Onshape has lots of functionality, like Follow Mode, that makes this pair CAD idea a reality. 

Do any instructors have experience pairing up their students to learn CAD, in-person or virtually? Do you have thoughts on whether we could expect to see the learning, and positive experience, in pair CAD?

Comments

  • stephen_wilson554stephen_wilson554 Member Posts: 11 EDU
    Follow mode?  What where how?
    I've not heard of pair programming but will go and have a read now.  Quick question...is it suitable for a socially distant classroom?

  • brian_bradybrian_brady Member, Developers Posts: 474 EDU

    Do any instructors have experience pairing up their students to learn CAD, in-person or virtually? Do you have thoughts on whether we could expect to see the learning, and positive experience, in pair CAD?
    @alison_olechowski392

    I teach CAD and programming to undergraduate Engineering Technology students. Maybe students At my university are unique (I don't really think so), but most seem to care more about getting a specific grade than they are about learning. An informal motto that myself and other faculty whom with I work live by is "if you don't physically see a student do something, they likely did not do it."

    That is not so say that modern students don't want to learn. It is just that the pressure they feel for getting good grades outweighs their desire to actually learn (and possibly not get the grade they hoped for). "Homework help", AKA cheating, websites like Chegg that have appeared over the past decade reinforces this thinking. I often see students spending more time trying to find a solution that is already complete and correct then they could have spend learning and creating their own solution. This shows up at test time for classes where homework serves as practice for tests. When homework is not collected and graded, the vast majority of students don't attempt it, they just look the final solution the night before the test. When HW is collected and graded, the vast majority of students simply copy the solution from a classmate or a homework help website just before it is due.

    Therefore, the answer to you question regarding whether we could expect to see learning is a qualified yes. Some students would use pairing to learn and assist somebody else in their learning. However, I expect that the pressure of grades will entice many (most) to take advantage of the situation to do as little as they have to to get the job done and move on to the next course's homework or assignment that is due and do the same thing.

    Grades and their use to assess student learning (honestly, what better means do we have to truly assess learning) is at the root of the issue. If we did not have to give grades and could simply state a student is competent or not, then there would be less of a problem. However, GPAs are used too much to determine who learned something and who didn't. Future employers and graduate schools use GPAs to decide who's application goes into the keep pile and who's gets tossed.

    I can see using team and pairing exercises as a means of learning. But, I cannot trust the results of such exercises enough to use them for assessment (grading) because I don't know who truly did the work. Students can easily game such systems. Onshape's history shows which logged in account did each task. But students are willing to log in on a computer and have their partner do the work using their account to ensure the work looks like it was split equitably. Or they will talk/walk their partner through each step, explicitly telling them what to do and how to do it. Either way, one person in the team or pairing did not actually learn as much as the other but the instructor is left with now way to know that by looking at the finished product.

    Brian
  • john_mcclaryjohn_mcclary Member, Developers Posts: 2,801 PRO
    I can't say much for a classroom environment. But when we try that here, it turns into a stalemate between the two people and philosophy and ego start to fill the room.

    What I've leaned towards here at work is more of a "do it how you want" (because they will anyway) I will say loud and clear "I told you so" when they run into glitches and dead ends. Yet they continue to stay in their rut.

    Basically, you better get'em while they are young. Because once they get comfortable, it is impossible to change the mind of an engineer. I think teaching students to have an open mind, and understand there are many ways to attack a problem. Hearing someone else's take in real-time could be a good thing. As long as both students are willing to listen and learn. (According to Brian, this is not the case) And that sounds very reminiscent of my time in school too if I'm being honest...
  • Domenico_DDomenico_D Member Posts: 3 PRO
    Follow mode?  What where how?
    I've not heard of pair programming but will go and have a read now.  Quick question...is it suitable for a socially distant classroom?

    @stephen_wilson554 Follow mode is a really cool feature that lets you view Onshape from the perspective of another user. This makes it super easy to show others what you are working on and discuss designs in real-time. Check out this Tech Tip to learn more about Follow Mode. 
  • john_mcclaryjohn_mcclary Member, Developers Posts: 2,801 PRO
    Follow mode is nice if you want to point out things in a model while on the phone.

    It doesn't allow you to see the feature menus or sketches being edited. It just looks like a cursor floating around while you are confused why they aren't clicking anything, until you realize he is drawing sketch lines...

    at that point a third party app like discord or webex would be better 
  • brian_bradybrian_brady Member, Developers Posts: 474 EDU
    That is new to me. I did not know follow mode did not show sketches being created. You learn something new every day around here.
  • steve_shubinsteve_shubin Member Posts: 254 ✭✭✭
    What I've leaned towards here at work is more of a "do it how you want" (because they will anyway) I will say loud and clear "I told you so" when they run into glitches and dead ends. Yet they continue to stay in their rut.
    Ain’t that the truth !!!

    I come from the construction field of work, and how many times did I run into the same thing. Glad I’m not having to deal with that day in and day out anymore.


  • stephen_wilson554stephen_wilson554 Member Posts: 11 EDU
    @Domenico_D
    Ahha! I shall look out for that and make use of it in the future!  Thank you for pointing it out.
  • alison_olechowski392alison_olechowski392 Member Posts: 3
    All of this is interesting discussion. @brian_brady these assessment challenges are on my mind too, especially with virtual teaching being the reality for more of us in the short-term. @john_mcclary we've seen some of this stalemate-type behaviour, or one-sided behaviour @steve_shubin , but we're optimistic that we can use prompts, or teach strategy, that can prepare teams to work better in pairs. Just like in pair programming - you need to ramp up to it with teaching and practice, a perfect shift doesn't happen automatically.
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