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eCOOL: An Expert System based Approach to Designing Effective Assessments for Course Outcomes and Learning

Muhammad Hasan Imam, Imran A Tasadduq, Muhammad Haris Khan, Abdul-Rahim Ahmad, Fahd Aldosari, Sameer V Shaikh


Effective and objective assessments of learning outcomes is a key activity in any teaching and learning enterprise. An assessment usually comprises a set of questions designed to test the course learning outcomes. Given an available pool of such questions of various types, assessment design reduces to the selection of a set of suitable questions that satisfies instructor’s preferences. The existence of a large number of possible assessment questions for a given course as well as the multiplicity of preferences render the manual selection of suitable assessment questions not only quite cumbersome but also time-intensive exercise. This paper solves this cumbersome and time-consuming problem of decision support and automation by an appropriate design of an Expert System (ES) through a web-based cloud implementation. It also introduces the idea of a relevance score for the selected questions to help the instructor choose the best one. A case study of an undergraduate course in hydraulics is presented for demonstrating the working of the ES. The case study indicates the potential of achieving efficacy and efficiency in the process of designing assessments for learning outcomes by using such an ES.


Assessment design; expert system; student outcomes; course learning outcomes; eCOOL; accreditation

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