A Word From Jack

In my 56 years as an educator, many things in the classroom have changed dramatically, however, my goal to promote student engagement and student learning has remained steadfast.

Jack NarayanThis, in part, is what led me to my latest role here at WebAssign as Chief Academic Officer. It is in this role that I now have the ability to further my goal of promoting student engagement and learning. This fall I will begin a series of blog posts that will explore new theories and strategies to promote student learning and increase student engagement. The blog will also feature interviews with faculty and students, book reviews, highlights from academic conferences, and trending topics in the teaching community.

For example, one of the issues I will explore here is the lack of preparation for college. Many students graduate high school, without having learned how to study or how to learn new concepts. Many lack problem-solving skills as well as the basic procedural knowledge of learning. This presents significant challenges for instructors. We need to help students understand that learning is hard and that it only becomes fun after they experience some success. I will interview instructors who have tackled this issue in their classrooms and find out what advice they have for their peers.

The blog will also share case studies exploring the use of new tools in the classroom. For example, WebAssign’s newest tool for instructors, Class Insights, was developed to help instructors pinpoint specific challenges students are experiencing. By analyzing student performance data, instructors can provide support in a targeted manner. The companion tool for students, My Class Insights, lets students easily review their progress and seek help where they are struggling. Enabling instructors and students to access real-time feedback on performance can have an immediate and positive impact on learning and outcomes. I plan to reach out to a number of instructors after the fall semester and report their feedback on these exciting new tools.

I would also like to encourage you to connect with me around the topics of student engagement and student learning. Please feel free to email me with questions and comments, or to share your best practices, at jnarayan@webassign.net.

Here’s to the start of a successful 2015-2016 academic year!

New Analytics Tool for Students

We are excited to announce the release of our latest analytics feature for students, My Class Insights.

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Integrated with the WebAssign application, My Class Insights gives students an overview of concepts they have learned and topics they are struggling on based on data from students’ first attempt on a problem.

The user-friendly interface shows students a summary view of concept mastery, as well as provides the subsequent steps in the learning process. A practice button appears next to each topic so students can dive deeper into a series of similar question types.

“My Class Insights gives students more data and control over their learning, making WebAssign a powerful tool for increasing student engagement,” said Jack Narayan, WebAssign chief academic officer and mathematics professor. “Now students can quickly see the areas they need to pay more attention to, and the data presented in My Class Insights should encourage them to fully invest in learning before an exam.”

My Class Insights was designed primarily to act as a study tool, but can also be used as remediation or to identify gaps in prerequisite course knowledge. This new feature will be available via the student homepage in WebAssign for a select group of Summer II courses and will be available to all students for Fall 2015 courses. This is the latest feature in a series of analytical tools and reports WebAssign will continue to release throughout the year.

New Analytics Feature, Class Insights

We have some exciting news! Class Insights, our new analytics feature, was officially launched on May 13. This new feature gives instructors a detailed and analytical view of their students’ performance throughout the course. For example, instructors can quickly see the number of attempts to correctly answer questions, and questions for which a large percentage of the class had trouble are flagged. With this view, instructors easily can identify topics or concepts that may be confusing to students. One of the highlights of Class Insights is the ability to identify at-risk students early in the semester. Like most WebAssign features, all settings are completely customizable so instructors can configure settings to suit their classroom needs.

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“Sharing the data WebAssign collects about student performance with instructors in a digestible way provides powerful information that helps them increase learning results,” said Andy Trus, product manager. “We’re excited to hear how our early adopters are using Class Insights to improve the teaching and learning experience.”

This new feature has been well received by a select group of beta testers who have explored the new tool. “I use Class Insights to help zero in on which sections of the book, topics, and questions are problem areas for my students, then build my review based on that,” said Daniel Roddin, Professor at the Minnesota School of Business. Other instructors agree this feature has a broad capacity of uses to support both teachers and students.

Download our guide to make the most of using Class Insights.