Meet the winner of the WebAssign Users Group online survey, Carol Peabody! Carol is a chemistry teacher at Delaware Valley Regional High School in Hunterdon County, NJ, who has been teaching high school science for 21 years. Although Carol was unable to attend WAUG in person, she followed the event by watching the presentations and sessions that were streamed online through Livestream. If you didn’t get a chance to attend WAUG, check out Livestream for select presentations that are now available online, or join us next year! You can also find photos of WAUG on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more updates about the latest WebAssign happenings.
How long have you used WebAssign?
I have used WebAssign for five years now, but only in my AP Chemistry class. I find it easy to use, but I still have a lot to learn about it. For the past 3 years, I have wanted to attend the WAUG conference, but something has always gotten in the way – this year I had reserved my spot but had to cancel at the last minute; having some of the conference available through Livestream was very helpful.
Are there any particular teaching practices that you employ to get your students to learn?
I try to engage students by incorporating a lot of “hands-on” activities, including labs and other small group work. I use clickers for formative (but not summative) assessment; students seem to enjoy those. A current interest involves moving away from delivering content through classroom lecture and the employment of other instructional techniques. I will also be training this summer in how to utilize those to help make my classes more student-centered.
What are your “best practice” tips for using WebAssign in the classroom?
What works for me and my students is giving them multiple tries (for most questions, I make it 5 tries) but encouraging them to check with me before using up their last couple of tries. I like how they are forced to try to figure out why they’re wrong, rather than just passively waiting until the next day to even find out whether their answers are right or wrong. Students really seem to like the practice another version option.
Also, I just began using the penalty option for accepting late responses. I’ve also made ample use of giving students bonus percentages for responses they submit at least 24 hours before the due dates – that encourages some of them to stay ahead of the deadline
I use WebAssign’s forums to post information, but not for discussion; my students have formed their own Facebook page, where they have their discussions. The polls are something I want to incorporate in the future.
What sessions did you listen to on Livestream and what was your overall experience with WAUG online?
I wasn’t able to attend the actual WAUG conference in person, but it was wonderful to have the live streaming option. I watched a little of the first day and much of the second day online and have since gone back to watch the videos that were recorded for the parts that I missed. I thought the quality of the streaming was excellent; it even worked with my wireless router so I didn’t have to hook up with an Ethernet cable, which doesn’t always happen. Thank you for providing this opportunity!