Asee peer logo

Scalable Implementation of Metacognitive Homework: Comparing Experiences at Large and Small Institutions

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

New Engineering Educators 3 - Grading: Grate or Great

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Derek Breid Saint Vincent College Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Derek Breid is an assistant professor of Engineering at Saint Vincent College. His interests include integrating active learning techniques into classic engineering courses, and studying the mechanical behavior of soft materials.

visit author page


Tara Gupte Wilson Ohio State University

visit author page

Tara Wilson is a graduating undergraduate student of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering at The Ohio State University. For the past six semesters, she has worked as a teaching associate for OSU’s fundamentals of engineering honors program - a first year, introductory course required for all honors engineering students. She also spent two semesters working as a teaching assistant for the Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering Department's thermodynamics class. She worked in a chemical engineering laboratory for four semesters studying separation of human red blood cells from whole blood. After that, she spent four semesters studying engineering education, resulting in four publications. She also volunteers at a free clinic called Physicians Care Connections, the Dublin Food Pantry, and Sandlot Children’s Sports Camp. This fall she will begin her masters in Biomedical Engineering at Wright State University.

visit author page


Ann D. Christy P.E. Ohio State University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Ann D. Christy, PE, is a professor of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering and a professor of Engineering Education at the Ohio State University (OSU). She earned both her B.S. in agricultural engineering and M.S. in biomedical engineering at OSU, and her Ph.D. in environmental engineering at Clemson University. She worked for an engineering consulting firm before entering academia and continues to collaborate with the consulting industry. She has taught courses in bioenergy, biological engineering, capstone design, HVAC, thermodynamics, waste management, professional development, and engineering teaching. Her research interests include energy, the environment, and engineering education. She is assistant dean for teaching and learning in the College of Engineering. She is a second-generation woman engineer.

visit author page

Download Paper |


In the age of instant answers and widely available solution manuals, the ways in which students approach homework in engineering courses are shifting. In response, instructors have adopted a variety of strategic homework policies to help define and preserve the pedagogical utility of homework as a way for students to meaningfully engage with engineering concepts through low-stakes practice, and as a means of assessing student progress. One such strategy has been utilized in various courses at a small, private college with a general engineering degree program. This homework approach encourages students to authentically engage with engineering concepts by incentivizing completion over correctness and requiring students to complete a metacognitive reflection following each assignment. This approach has shown strong improvements in the homework habits adopted by the students.

In fall 2019, this homework approach was adapted for use in a thermodynamics course at a large, public research institution. Although there are a few practical differences in implementation at the two schools, the purpose is the same: less reliance on pre-existing homework solutions, and more thoughtful student engagement during both the initial solution phase and the subsequent reflection phase. This paper aims to investigate whether this approach can successfully be implemented in a very different institutional environment, and to highlight the unique challenges that class size and institution size present when using such a model. The responses of students at the two institutions were compared using an end-of-term survey, identifying the extent to which student behavior was affected by the homework policy, the extent to which they felt it helped increase their learning, and their overall satisfaction with homework in the course. In addition, narratives from the instructors will highlight the implementation and overall scalability of the homework policy from the practitioner’s perspective, comparing best practices with this method at the different institutions.

Breid, D., & Wilson, T. G., & Christy, A. D. (2020, June), Scalable Implementation of Metacognitive Homework: Comparing Experiences at Large and Small Institutions Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35176

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015