Summer classes are coming to an end and fall semester is on the horizon. Set yourselves up for success by taking a few minutes to get ahead and prepare for next semester.
Keep reading for 5 tips to prepare for next semester with WebAssign
1) Consider Changes to your Syllabus
Your syllabus is the guide to your course, so be sure to review it and make changes while your ideas are still fresh in your mind. Here are a few recommendations:
- Enhance student engagement by making student activities within WebAssign worth at least 20% of your course score.
- Too Many Late Assignments? Adjust Your Extension Policy: You can apply automatic extensions for assignments and even apply a penalty for an extension to encourage students to complete their work on time.
- Include WebAssign Support & Reference Materials: Make sure your students know where to find WebAssign Help, including:
2) Save Time: Copy Your Current Course
Overall, are you happy with your course structure and its assignments? Don’t let them go to waste! The easiest way to prepare for next semester is to copy your course content to a new course to avoid starting from scratch. If you plan to upgrade your textbook to the next edition, you can use the textbook edition update tool to easily transition your course to the new title without losing your assignments.
Need a step-by-step for course copying? Check out this video.
3) Evaluate Your Course Topics
Although you’ll be starting next semester with fresh new faces, your current students’ performance can provide insight into where you should make adjustments in your course. Review My Class Insights data to determine:
- Which topics did students struggle on? Consider incorporating additional questions or assignments that cover these topics to improve understanding.
- Were there specific questions that few students got correct? Consider enabling learning support resources such as Read Its, Watch Its or Practice Another Version within these questions to guide them through the problem. You can also reduce point values for more difficult questions or give partial credit to reward students for attempting them.
4) Make Adjustments to Address Common Challenges
Will you be setting up your course exactly the same as you prepare for next semester, or will you need to make some adjustments? Consider the following common challenges that you can address by adjusting your assignment settings.
CHALLENGE: Low Homework Scores
- Adjust Number of Submissions Per Assignment: If you currently only allow one submission per homework assignment and as a result, you’ve seen low homework scores you may want to increase the number of submissions.
- Adjust your students’ access to learning tools at the question-level: Allowing questions toward the top of the assignment to have learning resources and slowly remove them through the assignment to create a scaffolded learning approach.
CHALLENGE: Low Student Engagement
- Schedule frequent assignments to keep students engaged with the material. You can even assign group work to give students an opportunity to collaborate with one another.
- Hold Office Hours for Homework in WebAssign. Show students how to use Ask Your Teacher within their assignments in WebAssign and communicate specific times you’ll be available for homework help using this feature. You’ll be able to support students who need help and further engage them in your course material.
CHALLENGE: Students Perform Better on Homework than Exams
- Deduct Points for Extra Submissions in Homework Assignments: Consider deducting points from homework after a certain number of submissions so they actually learn the topic, rather than guessing.
- Assign the Personal Study Plan for a grade as a way to require students to assess their knowledge and practice topics they’re struggling on to help with test performance.
5) Improve Your Course Materials
Your class performance may reveal that there are some areas for improvement, or you could just want to try your hand at incorporating some different elements into your course. Engage your students with fresh questions, assignments and resources such as:
- Custom questions. Learn how, or reach out to the WebAssign Content Support team for help!
- Embedded video. Incorporate video within questions to engage more visual students.
- Tutorial questions. Guide your students in understanding how to approach concepts by assigning tutorial questions that break down problem-solving steps.
- Lecture materials and videos. Make textbook resources such as lecture materials available right on your students homepage for easy access.
Don’t forget: You can also search the question browser for public questions, add free resources or share resources with other instructors for more fresh content. And remember, sometimes it’s not when you present the material, but how you do it.
Looking for More WebAssign Tips?
Transitioning to a virtual or hybrid course is stressful – let us help! Keep in mind the following resources that are available to you.