Online, Handwritten or Hybrid Homework: What’s Best for our Students in the Long Run?
Some educational software packages allow for homework to be submitted through the web. These have provided opportunities for students to practice solving problems with a guided solution process. They can receive instant “programmed” assessment regarding input. Faculty have the ability to assign problems from the book as homework and it can be graded automatically. Software and book choice can mitigate time savings for the professor, requiring problems be manually coded, but overall, the use of software decreases time required to administer the homework. Methods of delivery (online only or hybrid classes) can also have a large effect on the time and effort committed to a course. However, the use of online homework systems does not instill the importance of presenting a logical and organized solution; it is missing a technical communication aspect of an engineering education. This is an important characteristic that is missing in recent engineering graduates . The use of online homework can be beneficial in developing a solving process and retention of material [3-4], but lacks assessment of organized solution processes; something required is most engineering classes. Preliminary work in assessing "presentation of an organized solution process" and its correlation with the final course grade has been done in two sophomore mechanics classes. Early analysis indicates, that with training, students who perform well on a presentation score of a rubric also perform well in solving a problem: almost 70 percent of the problem solving process can be predicted by a presentation score.