# An Online Word-Problem Solver for Students of Thermodynamics

Pathway is a quick, easy, mouse or touch driven word-problem solver that will help you improve your word-problem solving skills.  Pathway bridges the large gap between reading a word-problem and using your calculator to plug numbers into your final governing equation.  The gap is how to actually get to that resulting governing equation.  Pathway's engine is able to derive all solution paths.  Pathway explains which equations and tables to use, why use them, and provides highly personalized scaffolding.

## Pathway Tutorial Software

Pathway has a unique STEM word-problem solver engine that derives governing equations. It should not be confused with other solvers that require YOU to derive and provide the governing equation, for which they then solve for an unknown variable. Pathway is a learning tool that shows you exactly which equations to use based upon the information you provide from the word problem. You can modify problems, create your own problems, and try out what-if scenarios. Pathway can either complement or be a substitute for tutors or office hours.

## Learn At Your Own Speed

Unlike tutors or TAs, Pathway is available to you 24/7. You are not limited by a teacher's set of homework problems, you can practice solving as many problems as you need to master the concepts, improve your accuracy, and prepare for class exams. So Pathway levels the playing field for those that require more help to get up to speed, it helps those that are strapped for time due to a greater number of obligations, those that cannot afford tutors, those that are not receiving the best lecture presentations, lifelong-learners, etc.

## Evidence of Success

We tested the basic idea in an early generation of this tool, in the Engineering Thermodynamics course at Purdue University.  An experimental group of 120 students used the tool while a control group of 480 students did not use the tool. The experimental group scored an average of a letter and a half higher than the control group on each of the exams. All 600 students took the same exams at the same time. TAs help grade all exams.  And the team that developed the online tool was not involved in creating the in-class exams to remove bias. Additionally, it was found the students using the online tool finished their homework faster than those that did not use the tool.  Results published in the Journal of Online Engineering Education.