## Three disappointments

Community Member

Three disappointments:

1. Search wouldn’t find video content
2. Search didn’t prioritize based on page/assignment type
3. Search separated topics into disconnected disparate topics

Context: I’m an instructional designer, not a Math Professor.

In my testing environment I recreated a basic math course that my university is currently running. The first module covered linear equations and inequalities. It ran for three weeks and the Canvas course roughly contained the following items:

• Page(s): Instructor video: instruction, problem solving demonstration, tutorial
• Page(s): Reading assignment (most of the content lives in the link) very limited instructions are actually in the page
• Assignment(s): Practice problems and self-quizzes (some instruction but most in the form of instant feedback)
• Assignment: Graded assignment (On the page were guidelines for using Gradescope, no actual instruction)
• Assignment: Exam

The topic sequence went as follows:

1. Solving 1-step Linear equations w/addition & subtraction
2. Solving 1-step Linear equations w/multiplication & division
3. Solving 2-step linear equations

Solving linear inequalities

SmartSearch question:  “How do I solve an inequality?”

Disappointments:

1. The first search result was the graded assignment that didn’t include any actual instruction; just guidelines for using Gradescope and information on when students can expect feedback. The second search result was the exam. The instruction pages with the instructor videos weren’t included in the search results. The practice problems were pretty far down the list. None of the first three search results would actually help students with the question.
2. The Smart search did not include the videos (which in this case was the actual instruction)
3. The Smart search treated linear equations and inequalities as two distinct topics. The search results for the question “How do I solve an inequality” didn’t include any results for linear equations and vice versa. Students have a hard enough time thinking that topics are disconnected, disparate, one and done! But I want students to make connections between topics, processes, etc. When I engaged with Claude and ChatGPT on the same question they both initially treated inequalities as a distinct topic, But when I continued to engage even Claude admitted “ As an educator, it's important to assess a student's prior knowledge before diving into new concepts. I shouldn't assume that a student asking about inequalities necessarily understands linear equations." Since SmartSearch is supposed to be “smart” couldn’t we use it as a tool to help students see connections between topics in a course? For instance couldn’t the SmartSearch return the lecture videos on inequalities but also nudge students into seeing the connections and sequencing of other (previous) topics?