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A Chegg® Era Model for HW

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

New Engineering Educators 3 - Grading: Grate or Great

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New Engineering Educators

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Kurt M. DeGoede Elizabethtown College

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Professor of Engineering and Physics, Elizabethtown College. His research interests in biomechanics include developing clinical instruments for rehabilitation. Dr. DeGoede teaches upper-level undergraduate mechanical engineering and design courses, and first-year foundations of engineering courses. He is also developing a collaborative study abroad program in West Africa.

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Why do you assign Homework? Does it assess student learning? Is it a tool for developing mastery? The following analysis is based on 2011 and 2016 Engineering Dynamics courses. In 2011, here labeled the Pre-Chegg® Era, a strong correlation between homework grades and exam scores was observed (R^2 = 0.86). In 2016, students in this course began extensive use of web-based solutions to textbook problems (i.e. Chegg). Students self-reported the use of these tools. In this Post-Chegg Era, the correlation between HW and exams broke down (R^2 = 0.08).

In 2016, Homework scores were high but students failed to master fundamental concepts of the course. Fewer than 50% of the students demonstrated A-level work on fundamental principles. The course was restructured into a Mastery Based Learning grading scheme.

In parallel to the shift to MBL, HW was pivoted to an explicit training tool to develop mastery rather than an assessment instrument. Solutions to HW problems are provided by the instructor when problems are assigned. But if they have the solution, what is graded? Students requested that HW count for something. They needed a ‘carrot’ or a ‘stick.’ All grades in the course are based on individual-unassisted-proctored assessments (quizzes). If you do not participate in HW discussions at an acceptable level, your grade is reduced by 1/3 of a letter grade.

The model proposed here is set up as a graded discussion board. Solutions are posted in Canvas® at the time problems are assigned. Students must submit a discussion of worked problem(s): (1) Generalize to a solution strategy or algorithm – describe a new understanding, or (2) Explain the solution – must describe specifics (if you first did something wrong, explain why that was in error), or (3) describe what is confusing in the solution – ask a question.

Students can see other posts only after completing their post. They are then encouraged to review and respond to other posts. In the last 30 minutes before class, the instructor skims through the posts and identifies the frequent trouble spots identified by the students. At the start of class, students discuss the HW in their peer groups (4-5 students), bringing up unresolved questions with the instructor circulating through the room. Unresolved issues are discussed with the full class. Students with individual difficulties are encouraged to bring those concerns to office hours.

DeGoede, K. M. (2020, June), A Chegg® Era Model for HW Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--33979

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