PACE Lab @ Iowa State University
The ProWrite Project
Biometric technology for improving college students' writing processes
Watch a 3.5-minute video
The problem
A staple of college-level writing instruction is individualized feedback that students receive about the texts that they write. This feedback is intended to help students understand what they could have done better in the current text, but also to help them learn how to be a more effective writer in the future. However, this feedback focuses on properties of written products (i.e., what a good text is supposed to look like) rather than on the process of writing (i.e., what to do while writing in order to produce a good text). This is because texts that students submit to instructors for feedback bear little (if any) evidence of the moment-by-moment actions taken by the writer in the process of composition.
The solution
This NSF-funded project will develop an intelligent tutoring system for writing, ProWrite, that will automatically capture such moment-by-moment actions using unobtrusive biometric technology, and then provide data-driven, personalized, actionable feedback about the composition process to the student. This feedback will take the form of focused strategy guidance: Instead of simply telling the student to try out a particular strategy, ProWrite will provide a coached writing session where the student will receive real-time, automatic scaffolding for the target strategy. This type of intelligent tutoring system in the context of writing instruction, if effective, has the potential for massive application and, therefore, economic and educational gain.
More information is coming soon.