Active learning strategies combined with an online homework system lead to an 80% success rate in Mathematics
Since 2012, the UNL Mathematics department has been working to radically redesign its first-year mathematics courses. Current efforts have yielded an 80% success rate, up from a 62-67% rate previously. To achieve this, the department did a wholesale redesign (PDF) encompassing leadership, formative assessment, coordination among sections and courses, use of top undergraduate students, GTA education and training, classroom spaces designed for teamwork, and an online homework system called WeBWorK.
Feedback is essential to student learning and one place faculty consistently spend a great deal of time is in typing up comments on written work. In this video, Brian Wilson, an instructional designer who also teaches online, demonstrates how he uses PhraseExpress to build a database of comments and references to support resources and then quickly inserts them with a few keystrokes. By using this approach for frequently used elements, he creates time for when customized feedback is critical.
John Geppert, professor of finance and director of assessment for the College of Business Administration (CBA), has a keen interest in student peer assessment of writing. Not only because the literature finds improved learning and critical thinking when students engage in the practice, but also because peer review may offer a way to include more writing practice in more courses.
However, he had three primary concerns: