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Positive Statistical Impact of Online Homework Assignments on Exam and Overall Course Grades

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Division Technical Session 10

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Shalabh C. Maroo Syracuse University Orcid 16x16

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Shalabh C. Maroo is an Associate Professor in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department at Syracuse University. He received his B.Tech from IIT Bombay in 2003, and MS and PhD from University of Florida in 2005 and 2009, respectively. He was a postdoctoral researcher at MIT from 2010-2011. Dr. Maroo is the recipient of 2015 NSF CAREER award, and the 2009 best PhD dissertation award in ‘Thermal-Fluid Sciences’ at University of Florida. His research interests are in multi-scale transport phenomenon and thermal management, with a focus on energy and water desalination. His teaching interests are in heat transfer, nanotechnology, and energy conversion.

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This work evaluates the impact of introducing homework assignments, which are 1) assigned and submitted online, 2) algorithmic, and 3) not from the course textbook, on students’ homework performance relative to their exam and overall class performance. The aforementioned technique of online homework assignment is compared to the traditional technique where homework problems are assigned from the course textbook with students submitting the solutions on paper. These two (paper and online) homework techniques are applied to the undergraduate junior course on ‘Heat Transfer’, a required course for students majoring in mechanical engineering, over two separate semesters (Spring 2016 and 2018). The findings show that, compared to traditional paper homework technique, the aforementioned online homework technique improved the correlation between homework scores and exam scores by over 99%, and between homework scores and overall end-of-semester scores by over 43%. The latter may be slightly skewed due to a 5 percentage-point increase of online homework contribution in overall score, but nevertheless shows a significant improvement. Quizzes are also analyzed for the two semesters. Thus, online homework assignments, if done correctly, can be a powerful tool to enhance the educational impact in an engineering class.

Maroo, S. C. (2019, June), Positive Statistical Impact of Online Homework Assignments on Exam and Overall Course Grades Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33178

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