Happy Halloween from WebAssign!

Save some room for pumpkin pi!

Pumpkin Pi

Check out more pictures from WebAssign’s Halloween celebration on our Facebook page now!

Where in the World is WebAssign?

WebAssign will be at a number of upcoming events and we hope to see you there!  We love speaking to our customers both old and new and will have WebAssign T-shirts and other goodies to give away, so if you have plans to attend the following conferences be sure to come by our booth and say hi.

NABT (National Association of Biology Teachers)

Featuring four days of renowned speakers, hands-on workshops, informative sessions and special events, the NABT Professional Development Conference addresses teaching biology and life science in the 21st century.

October 31 – November 3, 2012
Hyatt Regency Dallas
Dallas, Texas

WebAssign Booth 619

Educause 2012 Annual Conference

The EDUCAUSE Annual Conference is the premier gathering for higher education IT professionals. It provides content and exploration of today’s toughest technology issues facing campuses around the world, and convenes some of the brightest minds in the community.

November 6-9, 2012
Colorado Convention Center
Denver, Colorado

WebAssign Booth

NCSTA (North Carolina Science Teacher’s Association)

The North Carolina Science Teachers Association (NCSTA) was formed in 1969 with the mission of promoting excellence in science teaching and learning in North Carolina. Join them for the 43rd Professional Development Institute from an organization that  continues to thrive with over 2000 members across the state.

November 8-9, 2012
Benton Convention Center
Winston-Salem, NC

WebAssign Booth 704

Friday Funny, a Halloween edition

Have a better Friday Funny than this one?  Send it in today!

Force Concept Inventory & WebAssign

One of the major findings of physics education research over the past 30 years is that students can often learn how to successfully solve certain types of physics problems while still having very little qualitative understanding of the underlying physics concepts.  The research behind this finding is built upon valid, reliable, and repeatable measurements of students’ conceptual understanding.  Researchers have developed a number of tools to make these measurements, including standardized multiple choice instruments.  Probably the most well known of these is the Force Concept Inventory (FCI), first published by David Hestenes, Malcolm Wells, and Gregg Swackhamer in 1992.

The FCI consists of 30 questions designed to assess conceptual understanding in several areas of mechanics, including kinematics, Newton’s laws, superposition, and types of forces.  Each question has a single Newtonian correct answer with several distractors based on students’ common-sense misconceptions.  The test is designed to be administered twice: as a pre-course assessment of students’ understanding before instruction, and again as at the end of the course.  By comparing the pre-test to post-test gains on the FCI, instructors can easily evaluate how well their students improved in conceptual understanding in mechanics. Furthermore, because it is so widely used, FCI gains can be compared across or within institutions to compare the effectiveness of different pedagogies.

As part of our commitment to helping instructors improve the educational experience for their students, WebAssign is pleased to provide the FCI as an additional resource available to all instructors, for no additional cost to students. Furthermore, for instructors not currently using WebAssign, we can provide free access to students for the express purpose of using the FCI.  Contact us for more information today!

Important Usage Notes

The FCI questions are provided by WebAssign for the express purpose of administering the assessment as a complete assignment.  Use of these questions as an additional bank of questions for homework or student practice is prohibited by our agreement with the authors.  If you wish to give the FCI as a pre/post test, we recommend using the  pre-made assignment, “Mechanics Survey” (assignment ID 236170), which contains the recommended settings for the test, and scheduling it as a password-protected, timed assignment, using WebAssign’s Lockdown Browser.  For help with, see “Scheduling Quizzes and Tests”  in WebAssign’s Instructor Support, or contact us for more information.

Adding FCI Assessment to Your WebAssign Course

If you are creating a new course:

From your home page, click “Create…”, then select “Course.”  This brings you to the “Creating a New Course” page.  Fill in your course information and select your textbook, as usual.  Under the heading “Textbooks” on the right side of the page is a scroll box labeled “Select any additional resources that you would like to use.”  Check the box next to “Force Concept Inventory.”

If you are adding this resource to an existing course:

From the ClassView page, click “Edit Class Settings” in the “Class Tools” box.  This brings you to the “Class Settings” page.  Under the heading “Section Information”, on the right side of the page, click “Add Textbooks & Additional Resources.”  In the window that pops up, under the heading “Additional Resources,”  scroll to:  “Hestenes, Wells, and Swackhamer, “Force Concept Inventory,” ed. August 1995″ and click this entry to highlight it, then click “Save.”

For more information about adding additional resources and creating a course please refer to our Online Instructor Support.


Student Spotlight – WebAssign & Math

We always love hearing WebAssign student success stories, so a special thanks to Kiana for taking a moment to share her WebAssign experience with us.  Kiana is a sophomore at Columbus State University in Georgia and is studying psychology.

She is currently deciding which path to take with psychology; she either wants to work in a clinic or the business industry or be a community counselor.  In her spare time, she likes to play soccer, practice singing, and write poetry.  Currently she works for her school’s housing office as a Student Advocate Peer Mentor.

What class did you use WebAssign with?

I used WebAssign in my Math 1101 class, which is Math Modeling.

How did this class and/or the use of WebAssign help you learn math better?  

WebAssign helped me because it has so many tools:

  • Study Guides that imitate the test
  • A link to the textbook next to the homework assignments
  • A link to sample problems next to the homework assignments
  • Homework assignments walked me through the problems step by step
  • Extra credit was given for completing assignments early

What aspects of WebAssign did you like best or did you use the most?

I definitely used and liked the study guides that were given out at a good length of time before the tests. They were set up like the tests but were more difficult, so when we received the actual tests they were simple in comparison.

What advice do you have for students who are struggling with math?

I would tell any struggling students to definitely get in touch with his or her teacher as soon as possible so that they can keep up in his or her classes, but to keep up with their online homework as well. Although a student shouldn’t completely eliminate the interaction between teacher and student, online help (such as WebAssign) can do a great job in being that substitute for a teacher when students aren’t able to meet up with their teacher as frequently as they would like.

Friday Funny

Today’s Friday Funny was submitted by Jessica Fiorillo, Chemistry Publisher at WH Freeman.

As always, please share your best math/science/teaching jokes with us!

Coming Soon to WebAssign!

We are so proud of our upcoming November release, that will greatly enhance the way you create courses and schedule assignments, that we want to give you a sneak preview now! Featuring one-step course creation and an innovative new way to schedule assignments, this release is focused on saving you time as you prepare for your next term with WebAssign.

With this release:

  • We’re streamlining the way you create your courses in WebAssign with a leaner, faster page that focuses only on the options that are most important to you. Selecting a textbook is effortless with the new textbook search box. Plus, you can copy one of your previous course sections in seconds to reschedule all of your assignments to a new course that uses your GradeBook and other settings.

  • You’ll be able to schedule your assignments with ease and efficiency. Instead of scheduling each assignment one at a time, you can drag your assignments from a searchable list to the week for which they should be scheduled. You also have new options  to specify, for example, that your assignment is due 1 hour before Wednesday’s class.

  • Large course management in WebAssign has never been easier. In addition to being able to copy a previous section into a new course, you can duplicate sections within a course. Last minute addition of a new section? Copy one of your existing sections quickly and you are done. Assignments that were scheduled relative to class meetings are automatically adjusted to the class meeting time of the new section. Forgot to add an assignment to all 30 sections of a math course? Add it to one section and copy it to the others with just a few clicks.

Sneak Peek Video Demo:

Come November, you’ll be able to take advantage of all of these new features and more that were designed with your feedback in mind. We’ll have training videos, live WebAssign training workshops, and completely up-to-date documentation available to guide you through the new process should you need the support. And we’re sure, once you’ve set up your first new course, and scheduled your first batch of assignments, you’ll agree that this is not just a whole new WebAssign, it’s a better WebAssign.