Digital Homework Helps ... Except When it Doesn't

Photo by Victoria Heath

In a recent podcast for
Academic Minute, Professor Arnold Glass of Rutgers University offered us an update on something we know, but with a digital twist. Here’s the part we all know: copying answers to complete your homework, even for an online quiz or assignment, doesn't help student performance on quizzes and exams given in class.

The digital twist: the advent of digital copying of answers to online quizzes/homework has actually made the problem worse:
"The percent of students who did not benefit from correctly answering homework questions increased from 14% in 2008 to 55% in 2017." Glass describes the effect of using digital search tools to complete online homework as "insidious," suggesting that students have no idea that completing these tasks using digital search "have no idea that in achieving higher homework scores they are sacrificing equally good scores on exams.”
Read on, Macduff…

Some Lessons Last a Long Time


It was a simple video, done seven-and-a-half years ago. A few of my supply chain students were struggling with the calculations associated with Economic Order Quantity. After a few attempts to explain, I decided to offload the concept and calculations from class by way of a video posted to Youtube. I don’t know if it worked for my students back then, but just last week … more than seven years dated, a student I don’t know, never taught in a lass, and likely will never meet “got it.” He saw this long-ago video, and the concept clicked.

I don’t know why this event resonated with me so strongly. I don’t do videos for attention, I do them for my classes. And the technology back then is light years removed from the videos I do today. Yet simple though it was, a learner found this video on the web and digitally joined a class I taught nearly eight years ago. In a dusty node of the web, a student built some new and useful knowledge … connected, as it were, with a concept he needed to accomplish his task.

I know the use of web-based video in education isn’t new, or even fresh. CoVid swept us all out of the classroom, leading us to explore and develop new technologies to help our learners connect with a whole new world of online learning. Whether housed on a Learning Management System or on our own websites, we began to use the web to house materials and content to help our students reach beyond the walls of the classroom as they pursued knowledge.

And, I guess, this time it worked for at least one student.

One last thing. If the supply chain mess has you thirsting to understand EOQ calculations, well, here ya' go:

The True Measure of a Teacher

Photo: Ted Ajibe via Getty Images

"In a country where most kids don’t finish school, one man took it upon himself to teach those who are left behind."

If you are a teacher, you owe it to yourself to read this article from HuffPostImpact. If you are a student who values learning, you owe it to yourself to read this article.

As teachers, we all know, that when it comes to judging our suitability to teach, we are often judged by our credentials. But students know that caring is the one credential that matters the most. Mohammed Ayub is a fireman in Islamabad, Pakistan. After working all day in his formal job, he teaches an informal school, helping students deprived of formal schooling learn to read, write, and prepare for government exams. Mr. Ayub is a teacher who cares, and the students who rely on his teaching are much the better for it.

Books at the Boundaries of the World

blogEntryTopperI’ve always been a big reader. I read everything I could get my hands on … sports, history, fiction, non-fiction. I usually had three or four books going at once. They sparked my curiosity, blazed new paths of learning, and painted a world of wondrous opportunity. Maybe that’s what resonated with me when I saw a great piece on Worldreader, a non-profit focused on putting books in the hands of students in distant reaches of the globe.
Read on, Macduff…

Bigger Brainiac: Bugs Bunny or Willy Wonka?

blogEntryTopperIn the never-ending debate of who might be the smartest fictional character (no such debate, I just made it up), I’ve always been partial to Bugs Bunny. It’s hard to bet against him when you watch how easily he manipulates Elmer Fudd and tools Daffy Duck (granted, not the sharpest tools in the shed, but they’re no Wily Coyote, either).

New research on chocolate and cognitive function suggests there may be a new player in the game, though … the whimsical Willy Wonka, owner of his own chocolate factory.

On a serious note, there is solid research suggesting that cognition can be affected by nutrition. Read on, Macduff…

Of Drunks, Lampposts, and P-values

When it comes to discussion, data rules, right? If it's data, then it has to be fact. And if it is a fact, it has to be accepted. End of discussion!

I've never really been comfortable with that position. My discomfort principally revolves around two concerns. First, are we really sure about these so-called facts? And, secondly, have we critically examined the facts, or are we using the facts more, as they say, for support than illumination?

I have always loved that quip about facts and illumination. QuoteInvestigator attributes the earliest version of the allegory of drunks and lampposts to A. E. Housmann's critique of his colleagues' scholarship: Read on, Macduff…