Friday Funny!

fishgraph

Have a better math/science/teaching joke than this one? Email us to have it posted as one of our future Friday Funnies!

Friday Funny!

Check out this funny video of instructors reading mean student evaluations of them.

Increasing Student Engagement with Blended Learning

Kyle Kline has taught high school mathematics for twelve years and is entering his fifth year of teaching with WebAssign. He currently teaches algebra II and pre-calculus at Twin Lakes High School in Monticello, IN.

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Kline holds the fundamental belief that all students can achieve a certain level of mastery in mathematics. “Not every student is capable of making straight A’s, but they are all capable of putting forth their best effort,” Kline says. He applauds the efforts of his students if they work hard and put in the effort to learn the material. Kline believes that the effort in itself is a success no matter the letter grade.

In his pre-calculus class, he has created a blended learning environment to increase student engagement. Kline uses WebAssign to post notes, videos, helpful links, and homework assignments. He also has his students do a mixture of assignments utilizing both WebAssign and the textbook. Typically they will view the notes and videos for homework, while much of the in-class time is spent working on practice problems and extension activities.

As part of each semester’s coursework, students are also asked to submit a video on a math topic. This assignment is a group effort, and students break into small teams to collaborate. Projects have included game shows, music videos and parodies of their assignments. Students aren’t the only ones creating video content. Kline also has an extensive YouTube library, including a few parodies of his own.

Technology plays a key role in Kline’s classroom, in which every student has his or her own laptop. This provides more opportunity for interaction, and he has found that his students are more active learners. He utilizes WebAssign for homework and online quizzes as well as the announcement feature. Kline finds announcements to be a great place for him to share important information and materials with his students. Each year, Kline implements more and more of the tools of the online learning system into his classroom.

One of Kline’s favorite features is Ask Your Teacher, which helps facilitate teacher-student interactions. He finds himself using Ask Your Teacher almost nightly and feels it has given students a voice in his class. This is especially important for students who do not feel comfortable asking questions in class.

His suggestions for other teachers and instructors using WebAssign are to read the monthly WebAssign newsletter and to attend WAUG and network with other WebAssign users. “It is a great place to meet new people and learn more about WebAssign and its features,” he says.

The WebAssign Users Group Meeting (WAUG) will be held on June 25th and 26th this year and features a great speaker lineup and interactive question coding workshops. Register today to reserve your spot!

WAUG Workshops

Have you ever wanted to create dynamic question content in WebAssign? Well, here is your chance! At our WebAssign Users Group Meeting (WAUG) on Thursday, June 25 we are hosting a half day of workshops and sessions dedicated to creating content in WebAssign. Participants will walk away from each workshop with new information and the resources to get started on your own question content or course enhancements.

Here is a quick run down of our schedule for these engaging and informative training sessions:

  • Introduction to Question Creation: For instructors who have little or no experience creating questions in WebAssign, this workshop will teach you how to create basic numerical, multiple-choice, and symbolic questions.
  • Creating and Grading Images of Molecules: Instructors will learn how to use MarvinSketch to display and grade chemical structures.
  • Using Mathematica to Create Graphs and Images: For instructors who want to create their own graphs, this workshop will teach you how to use Mathematica to create static and randomized graphs.
  • Using Mathematica to Grade Student Responses: For instructors who have experience creating questions in WebAssign and want to incorporate more complex grading, this workshop will teach you basic Mathematica syntax, and how to use a computer algebra system to grade student responses.
  • Modifying Existing Questions: For instructors who want to learn how to duplicate and modify existing questions, this workshop will show you how to navigate and use WebAssign’s collection of Question Coding Templates.
  • Large Section Management: For instructors or course coordinators who manage assignments for several sections or courses, this workshop will teach you how to streamline the process for setting up large sections.
  • Adding Media to WebAssign Courses: For instructors who want to add richness to their courses through the addition of images, videos, and other resources from around the web, this workshop will show you how to use the HTML tags and embed hosted videos in WebAssign.
  • Creating Answer-Dependent Questions: For instructors who want to create questions with answers dependent on student input, this workshop will teach you how to leverage the technology WebAssign uses to create online labs to create your own answer-dependent questions.

Our Friday schedule will be much like typical WAUG formats from previous years with some great speakers! Take a look at our website to get more information and to reserve your spot today. We hope to see you there!

Friday Funny!

Check out our newest “Mean Tweets” video, read by our employees!

Friday Funny!

MEME-Teaching-is-fun

Have a better math/science/teaching joke than this one? Email us to have it posted as one of our future Friday Funnies!

Engaging Students in Their Own Learning

Stephen Matchett, a chemistry professor at Grand Valley State University with 24 years of experience teaching at the college level, believes that learning doesn’t end when a student graduates.

steve-matchett“When we leave school, we must continue to teach ourselves, so I try to guide them in learning this process,” he says.

Matchett’s teaching philosophy is to engage students to participate in their own education so that they can be life-long learners.

“Learning is not a passive process,” he emphasizes. “It requires us to work.”

Engaging students in their education requires extensive feedback and interaction, which Matchett says is made easier by using WebAssign. Before classroom lectures, students read the interactive textbook, which Matchett wrote entirely in WebAssign, and then test their knowledge by answering questions and solving problems online as they read through WebAssign. Then, Matchett uses the lecture to help students build on what they’ve already read.

“Because students work with the textbook prior to class, they are much better prepared and have a deeper understanding of the material,” he says.

In order to prevent students from cheating on the homework, Matchett uses WebAssign’s ability to randomize examples and problems from within the textbook itself, making each student’s experience unique.

Matchett also engages students by using WebAssign as an alternative to clickers in the classroom. Although clickers are in theory a good way to encourage student learning, professors have often run into problems with the hardware. For example, students forget to bring their clickers to class, or the batteries are dead. Sometimes students click randomly just to get attendance points which can give the instructor faulty information. With WebAssign, Matchett can take attendance and facilitate in-class participation by having students use their own smart phones as the hardware with no additional cost to students or department.

Although Matchett finds many features of WebAssign helpful to his teaching style, he says that being able to use the WebAssign platform to create his own materials has been particularly useful.

“Use WebAssign’s powerful features to customize the experience to your classroom,” Matchett advises other instructors.

Stephen Matchett will be presenting “Moving Beyond Question Authorship: The Power Of Larger Scale Content Creation” at our WebAssign Annual Users Group this June!