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Evaluation of Canvas-Based Online Homework for Engineering

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Software and Related Tools for Teaching and Course Efficiencies

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Alan Jones Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Alan Jones is the Associate Chair and an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Indiana University - Purdue University, Indianapolis where he has taught since 2005. He received his B.S. from Bradley University and his M.S. and Ph.D. from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His current interests include multi-functional composites, material modeling, and traditional mechanics.

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Online (web based) homework has been utilized in science and math courses to accommodate larger class sizes and to increase the student’s time-on-task without significantly increasing the instructor’s time commitment associated with grading homework. A few studies on the effectiveness of online homework have been reported in math, introductory physics and introductory chemistry courses. In addition to accommodating larger class sizes, using online homework will also enable alternative approaches to curriculum delivery, such as a fully online curriculum. This paper reports on the effectiveness of online homework in an Engineering Materials course offered at the junior level in a Mechanical Engineering curriculum. The effectiveness of online homework is evaluated by comparing exam performance for students using online homework versus traditional paper based homework. The evaluation includes homework measures such as percent completion, number of retries and time spent on problems. Online homework allows additional practice with engineering problems without significantly impacting the instructor’s time commitment to the course. This additional practice would seem to follow Behaviorist pedagogy, specifically assuming that the additional practice of problems would lead to improved student learning (conditioning), however, the instantaneous feedback possible with online homework as well as the possibility of multiple attempts on similar problems is shifting homework towards Constructivist pedagogy. As technology improves, online homework can be further adapted to Constructivist strategies by allowing more open-ended problems that provide automatic feedback to the student and thus embed self-assessment of learning in the homework. Recommendations for implementing online homework for engineering problems using the Canvas course management system are provided.

Jones, A. (2017, June), Evaluation of Canvas-Based Online Homework for Engineering Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28307

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