New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Electrical and Computer
To meet the needs of today's students and to maximize efficient use of faculty resources, electronically delivered homework is becoming ever more popular in higher education. The authors’ institution has considerable experience with the open-source, freely available homework delivery tool WeBWorK. WeBWorK's use in mathematics has been well-established, with it now being employed at over 1000 institutions worldwide. As part of an NSF-funded project, our team is expanding the use of WeBWorK to three sophomore engineering courses.
The effects of online homework in engineering have only been explored to a limited degree by the engineering education community. Therefore, the project team is also studying the effect of online engineering homework on student learning. The project team has designed a homework assignment process to establish a control group and then assess homework affects. As an example, suppose two sections of an introductory circuits course are taught in a given term. For a particular homework assignment that is a fairly isolated topic within the course, one section is required to do only paper homework, namely the instructor’s printed WeBWorK assignment. The "paper only" homework section is not given access to that homework assignment in WeBWorK. The other section of the course completes homework on WeBWorK as usual. Following the homework assignment submission, the same in-class quiz is administered to both sections of the course and graded according to a common rubric. For another fairly isolated topic within the course, this process is completed again, except with the groups being switched. That is, the first "paper only" homework group becomes the WeBWorK only group for a particular assignment and vice versa. A common quiz is then administered and graded according to a common rubric. All other homework for the course is based in WeBWorK, with instructors also collecting a notebook at the end of the quarter containing all of the homework problems worked out in a typical engineering format. The homework notebook is graded on the formatting of problem statements and solutions but not on the correctness of the solution itself.
This paper analyzes the results from the common quizzes, employing appropriate statistical analyses to determine the level of knowledge attainment on the topics and to determine if statistically significant differences exist between the two populations of "paper only" homework and online homework only. The statistical analyses are based on introductory circuits courses taught over two terms, amounting to eight quizzes taken by 116 students.
Evans, K., & Hummel, P., & Gates, M. (2016, June), An Expanded Study to Assess the Effect of Online Homework on Student Learning in a First Circuits Course Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26588
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