The CyclePad Guru: An experimental
distributed coaching system
Experiments with the CyclePad Guru were finished in the 20th century, and it is no longer in operation. You can find out more about it at http://www.qrg.northwestern.edu/papers/Files/distributed_coaching_qr98.pdf.
CyclePad already provides some on-board coaching (see the Help system for details). We are providing additional coaching services via email, for several reasons:
- We can incrementally improve the coaching software without asking you to download updated versions of CyclePad, and without making your runtime systems any larger.
- The case libraries used in generating design advice can be accessed via the web, making it easier for them to be updated and expanded.
- We will soon be providing an assignment builder, so that instructors using CyclePad can set up exercises and design problems, and use our server to do some of the mechanical chores associated with grading.
- We need to gather data about how CyclePad is being used, as part of our educational research.
The CyclePad Guru is still very much an experimental service. While we believe it will already be useful in some circumstances, we expect that the coaching software will require serious evolution to be as useful as we would like it to be. To drive that evolution, we would like your help. Please try out the Guru when you are stuck during an analysis, when you have a contradiction, or when you would like help in improving a design. You will get some feedback no matter what, and we will use your questions to improve the coaching software.
How to use the CyclePad Guru
The computer you are using CyclePad needs the ability to send email, and you need to have some way of reading the Guru's email responses. Otherwise, everything you need is already built into CyclePad.
To ask the Guru a question:
- Select the Internet|Email design option on the menu bar
- Make sure the
To:field reads email@example.com
- Make sure your return email address is correct
- Select the kind of message you want to send from the dialog provided
- Click on
Using the built-in email facilities includes your design as part of the message, in a way that our software can understand it. You will receive two responses via email. The first will be an acknowledgement of your message. The second will be the CyclePad Guru's response to your question. [How long this takes will depend on a variety of factors, including network traffic, the various mail handlers along the way, and server load.]
- Make sure you are in analyze mode
- Currently, the guru has responses for completed cycles (such as Rankine)
How to provide feedback
Please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, which is read by the developers of the system (and not by the software!). We appreciate your comments and suggestions. However, this is a research project and not a commercial enterprise, so our responses, if any, will of necessity be sporadic.
How it works
A paper on the distributed coaching system is available here.
The basic research on qualitative physics and analogical processing that makes this possible was funded by the Computer Science and Cognitive Science programs of the Office of Naval Research. The development of the CyclePad articulate virtual laboratory for engineering thermodynamics was funded by the National Science Foundation, under the Applications of Advanced Technologies program.