June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Educational Research and Methods
26.231.1 - 26.231.14
Do solution manuals hurt student learning?Homework has traditionally been the essential part of student learning, especially in engineeringeducation, but the availability of solution manuals has affected this essential part. Nowadays,solution manuals are widely available on internet. It just takes a few minutes to find a solutionmanual for specific homework problems. There are a number of papers reporting the effects ofsolution manuals on students’ learning. Some of these reports highlighted that the availability ofsolution manuals has adversely affected student learning. However, there are two subjects in thisarea that have not been emphasized: what the best options are for instructors and what thestudents’ perspectives are toward the availability of solution manuals. It might be true that byusing solution manuals students will not spend the time necessary to solve homework problems.This is the main reason that many instructors have stopped assigning homework or stoppedgrading them.The options available to instructors are: 1) not assigning homework 2) not collecting and grading3) creating custom-made problems 4) assigning and grading homework problems but minimizingtheir effects on final grades. In this paper, we will discuss the pros and cons of each option. Thestudents’ perspectives on homework will be also presented in this paper. To support thediscussion, an electronic survey will be sent to a number of engineering students at University ofWisconsin-Platteville. Some of the questions will be asked in the survey are: 1. Have you used solution manual for your homework? 2. What motivated you to use a solution manual? 3. What was your overall performance in the course that you used solution manual? 4. Did you feel that using the solution manual was helpful to your learning?” 5. Do you think solution manuals hurt student learning?
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