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Homework Is So 20th Century!

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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

Tips and Tricks for Assessing Student Performance

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

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Gilbert C. Brunnhoeffer III Roger Williams University Orcid 16x16

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Practiced Civil Engineering and Engineering Management in the U S Army for 20 years. Engaged in software engineering for three years and ran factories producing engineered materials for the aerospace and electronics industries for seventeen years. Teaching career includes engineering mechanics, civil engineering, and construction management for seventeen years.

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Homework accomplishes little or nothing. The few student who do complete it benefit but the overwhelming majority copy (often incorrectly) their classmates’ efforts and think they can build up a cushion to pass the course. There is a better way – announced quizzes. That is, suggest some problems that demonstrate the principles taught in the course then give 10-15 minute quizzes frequently (about thirty (30) times a semester) with increasing point value every week. If the quizzes exactly mirror the “suggested problems” the instructor and the student have a good measure of learning and mastery of the assigned subject material. This technique has several benefits. Among the benefits are: 1) by using a Grading Rubric the instructor can communicate exactly where each student is deviating from the correct problem solution in an objective manner, 2) the student is preparing for the mid-term exam and final exam in a way that simulates the exam conditions, 3) the student can focus on each individual’s knowledge gaps, 4) the instructor spends less time in the grading process thus allowing more time in individual communication with each student, 5) the instructor can focus on aggregate, class knowledge gaps, and 6) the Learning Outcomes can be addressed directly in each quiz. The results of this policy have been measured over a three (3) year period and they are encouraging.

Brunnhoeffer, G. C. (2017, June), Homework Is So 20th Century! Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28441

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