June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Educational Research and Methods
24.952.1 - 24.952.6
Online Homework: Does it help or hurt in the long run? Software packages that allow for homework to be submitted through the web haveprovided an interesting opportunity for both students and faculty. Students are given anopportunity to practice solving problems with a guided solution process and can receive instantassessment regarding their solutions. Software and book choice can mitigate time savings for theprofessor, requiring problems be manually coded, but overall the use of software decreases timerequired to administer the homework. From a faculty perspective, online homework softwaresimplifies the assigning and automated grading simplifies the homework assessment. However, we propose the use of online homework software does not instill theimportance of presenting a logical and organized solution process. The software lacks the abilityto assess a student's ability to communicate technical information effectively. The use of onlinehomework can be beneficial in developing a solving process and retention of material, but mayalso be vastly detrimental for classes that require illustrating an organized solution: mostengineering classes. Preliminary work in assessment of "presentation of an organized solutionprocess" and it's correlation with the final course grade has been done in a sophomore mechanicsclass (dynamics). Early data does not support this hypothesis (p = 0.408); however, these datawere included within a component of a scoring rubric. In the future, presentation of work will bea category in the rubric so that a more complete analysis can be done. Anecdotal evidence(discussion with colleagues) regarding "presentation of an organized solution" in the classes thatfollow these sophomore mechanics courses, illustrate the opposite. We suggest that, in the field of engineering, it may be best to use introductory classes todevelop and establish the presentation and organization skills on which other classes can buildalong with a problem solving process. In addition, we suggest a longitudinal study should bedeveloped to assess the effectiveness of online homework on a student's ability to technicallycommunicate (through sketches, free body diagrams, energy flow diagrams) in advancedclasses.
Davis, J. L., & McDonald, T. (2014, June), Online Homework: Does it Help or Hurt in the Long Run? Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22885
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