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Designing Homework Assignments: From Theory To Design

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.174.1 - 4.174.9

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Paper Authors

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Lloyd Feldmann

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1375

Designing Homework Assignments: From Theory to Design

Lloyd J. Feldmann Purdue University School of Technology at Columbus


Implied by the university teaching contract, rather than explicitly detailed, is the expectation that faculty will make the very best possible effort to help the student “learn” the subject matter under instruction. One aspect of teaching relegated to the “have always done it that way” is homework. Some would call homework an “intuitively obvious” technique. However, just what constitutes homework and how it could be utilized is seldom usefully defined or sufficiently detailed to really help the new professor in his expected duties. A large number of studies have consistently shown that students benefit greatly from active learning programs such as those that require work outside of the classroom. Workshops, courses or programs that address appropriate application of homework seem to be rare

This paper addresses some of the reasons why homework is an appropriate technique to be included in any teaching portfolio. It defines the four basic types of homework, how the homework assignment should be processed, and what the instructor and the student can expect from well designed and executed homework assignments. Examples of course objectives and homework designed for freshman technology courses are presented. A scheme for recording and reviewing the homework design is also suggested.

Why homework is important

Virtually all active learning techniques have been shown to be a significant factor in improving student understanding of the material. Properly executed, these programs can shift the emphasis from instructor performance to student learning and change a passive student into an active learner. The additional student time-on-task is necessary to allow exploration of the various nuances of the topic. However, it is difficult to establish and maintain a comprehensive outside study program.

Feldmann, L. (1999, June), Designing Homework Assignments: From Theory To Design Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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