MASCOT: A Mobile Application for Students’ Complexity of Thinking (2020-22)

Principal Supervisor(s) / Co-supervisor(s): Dr. GAO Xin, Dr. PANG Kam Moon, Dr. WONG Wing Hung, Dr. WU Jun Vivia

The General Education Foundation (GEF) Programme is a common core for all CUHK undergraduates with a mission to promote students’ academic preparedness, including their cognitive ability and critical thinking skills. In 2014, to understand more about students’ thinking complexity and measure their improvement in thinking, the Narrative Qualitative Assessment (NQA) method was introduced to analyze students’ writings. It was found that most undergraduates (mostly year 1 and 2) retained at a preliminary level of thinking complexity in a way that, for example, they failed to identify uncertainties in an open-end question and always looked for a standard answer to the problem.

To extend the previous study, this project is proposed to improve students’ awareness of turning from an answer-driven thinking approach to more sophisticated ones, which are useful for addressing complicated open-ended questions often encountered in university education. An interactive web application, called MASCOT, has been developed for students to self-evaluate their thinking patterns and obtain immediate suggestions on future improvement.

MASCOT has been developed and is under test. The MASCOT team has collected the first-round of data in the summer of 2021 and has carried out questionnaire survey and focus group interviews to collect students’ opinions. The second-round of data will be collected after 2021-22 Term 1 and focus group interviews will be conducted in January 2022.