Revue Internationale de Géomatique vol:24 issue:2 pages:251-268
In this paper we assess how satisfied students are with practical GI S&T tutorials which are independent of any specific software, featuring so-called conceptual exercises. Moreover we examine the hypothesis that students having taken this new type of tutorial perform differently for assignments and exams as compared to their peers who were exposed to other forms of practical training. Satisfaction was assessed through a web-based questionnaire survey addressing BSc. and MSc. students of an introductory GI S&T-practical which was conducted at the University of Leuven during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 academic years. The setup of the practical allowed the comparison of the student satisfaction for software-specific versus software-independent tutorials in the context of a supervised self-study approach (SSS). Hereby students independently solved and reported about a set of exercises while having the opportunity to receive advice and feedback. The overall finding was that the software-independent tutorial was equally appreciated as their software-specific counterparts. To assess performance, the scores obtained in 2011-2012 for two assignments, a practical exam and a theoretical exam were used. The scores were compared between a control group of BSc. students having taken a tutorial for specific software and the test group which had used the software-independent tutorial. Also these groups worked in a SSS-context. Not any significant difference was found between the control and test group. We conclude that the performance of students and the appreciation by students of prescriptive software-specific tutorials on the one hand and software-independent tutorials on the other hand are comparable. Since software-independent tutorials fit seamlessly within a supervised self-study context and since their validity is expected to last longer, further development and investigation of their applicability, performance and appreciation is recommended.