Friday Funny!

Have a good science/math/teaching joke? We want to hear them!

Q: What do you get if you cross a mosquito with a mountain climber?
A: You can’t cross a vector with a scalar!

Professor Spotlight: Mary Turner

Highlighting the great work of our outstanding faculty users is one of our favorite things to do. I hope you will gain some valuable knowledge by reading our latest faculty spotlight on WebAssign user Mary Turner, an associate professor of chemistry at Maryville College in Maryville, TN.  Professor Turner will also be at this year’s WebAssign Users Group to present her experience of incorporating labs into WebAssign to create a more engaging experience for her students and less time on grading for herself.  Sign up for WAUG today to hear this presentation along with many other speakers demonstrating their innovative use of WebAssign in the classroom.

Tell me a little bit about your current teaching experience and teaching background.

I have been at Maryville College for 9 years and I teach general chemistry, analytical chemistry, physical chemistry, science for non-majors, and first year seminar courses.  My courses vary in size from 6 to 80 students depending on the subject.

How long have you used WebAssign?

We started using WebAssign in general chemistry in the fall of 2003 when I arrived here.  I wish I could say it was my idea, but it actually belonged to one of my colleagues.  I have used WebAssign twice for analytical chemistry and started using it to grade my general chemistry labs about three years ago.

What are your “Best Practice” tips for using WebAssign in the classroom?

I assign weekly quizzes and homework.   This usually includes about 20 problems and I give them 5 submissions with no penalties for multiple submissions.  I also work out a lot of problems in class.

What can other WebAssign users and professors hope to learn from your WAUG presentation?

I hope that other attendees can see how versatile WebAssign can be for applications other than homework and leave with some ideas about creative ways to use it at their institutions.  I have very little training in computer programming, yet I was able to code most of our existing general chemistry labs into WebAssign (with some patient help from some WebAssign employees).  Now, after completion of the “hands-on” portion of the laboratory the students submit their data and results through WebAssign.  Not only is it much more efficient for me as a professor, but the students like it because it gives them multiple submissions.  This changes the lab “report” from an assessment tool into a learning opportunity.

WebAssign Community Service

Many of our employees at WebAssign are involved in community outreach programs or are regular volunteers at local non-profit organizations.  In an effort to support these employees and demonstrate WebAssign’s commitment to enriching our community, WebAssign employees are eligible for up to 16 hours of paid community service each year.

This allows employees the chance to give back to organizations that they are passionate about through community events and volunteering their time.  This past weekend a number of WebAssign employees utilized these community hours and participated in the SPCA Annual K9-3K Dog Walk in downtown Raleigh.

WebAssign Employees and Friends at SPCA Dog Walk

In addition to giving employees paid community service hours, WebAssign also matches all charitable donations up to $500 per year, per employee.

Congratulations to this  group who raised over $600 to help support the  SPCA of Wake County and thank you to everyone who donated to this great cause.  Stay tuned for future WebAssign Community projects!

Friday Funny!

Some good old fashioned number humor for your Friday Funny today:

Q: What did the zero say to the the eight?
A: Nice belt!

Q: Why was six afraid of seven?
A: Because seven ate nine.

Have a good science/math/teaching joke? We want to hear them!

We Have a Winner!

Our Make Your Voice Heard contest has come to an end after over 70 new feature ideas were submitted and 500 votes were tallied!  Congratulations to Professor Donna Flint from South Dakota State University for her winning feature idea of allowing for the override of a grade on an individual problem.  She indicated her feature idea would help out her classroom management by saying,  “My new feature suggestion would just make it easier to grade.  Students often want to go over their homework and if I am willing to give them partial credit for their work, it would be nice to be able to record that per problem, rather than have to change the entire grade.”

Thanks, Donna, for your suggestion.  We will keep you all posted on the development of this new feature as we begin work on making it a reality!

But that’s not all!  We had such a tremendous response on the runner-up idea that we have decided to add it to our list of potential new goals as well.  Many thanks to Peter Bohacek, a high school physics teacher in Minnesota, for his idea of adding features to WebAssign to create a clicker system for smart phones.  This feature is something that we can truly see the value in and we look forward to investigating this idea further.

Not only will we work to make these winning ideas come to life, but each winner will each receive a WebAssign prize pack and a VIP trip to the 12th annual WebAssign Users Group (WAUG) this summer, June 21-22 at WebAssign Headquarters in Raleigh, NC!

Sign up for WAUG today if you haven’t already done so, it is an event you will not want to miss!  This is a great chance to meet with other WebAssign users and hear from experts.  We have scheduled a great line-up of presenters to share their knowledge on topics such as integrating YouTube videos into your assignments, using social media in  your classroom, utilizing WebAssign for testing, WebAssign & labs, and many more.

A light breakfast and lunch will be provided both days along with a social hour reception each evening.  Check out our WAUG 2012 homepage for more details.

Space is limited, so sign up today!

Congratulations again to both our winners, and thank you for all of your support!

Friday Funny!

Pass on our Friday Funny jokes to your favorite statistician:


Q: Did you hear the one about the statistician?
A: Probably….

A statistician can have his head in an oven and his feet in ice, and he will say that on the average he feels fine.

Have a good science/math/teaching joke? We want to hear them!

Calling all Biology Teachers!

In addition to our homework support for chemistry, physics, and mathematics courses, did you know that WebAssign now has biology homework questions to accompany ANY textbook?

Our faculty tested, concept-based biology homework questions cover every major concept in Introductory Biology and complement your course, regardless of the text you’re using. There’s no need to change your text or syllabus. Each question provides instant access to further information from a variety of educational, non-profit, governmental, or reputable commercial websites. Your students can quickly discover exactly why their answer is correct (or incorrect) and learn more biology in the process!

Now you can venture beyond textbook specific questions and offer your students over 1100 questions from WebAssign’s Biology.  Even better, we are offering these questions free of charge for the rest of the spring semester, just in time to give your students a little extra help when prepping for the AP exam.  Give them a try today!