Larry Margerum, a general chemistry teacher at the University of San Francisco, is outnumbered in regard to the number of students he’s tasked with educating and motivating. It’s his job to lecture approximately five hundred students a year and to supplement those lessons with homework assignments that students find engaging and academically valuable. However, effectively reaching each of those students in a relatively large classroom setting can be difficult.

The problem, though, is one with which instructors have struggled for years; coaxing students into actually completing assignments that’ll prepare them for exams. Getting today’s student to engage deeply with pencil and paper homework is proving to be even more difficult. Plus, instructors say, traditional homework assignments are copied and turned in for points that artificially inflate academic performance. Instructors, according to Professor Margerum, understand the “drill and kill” homework system in place is not meeting the needs of today’s college students.

However, changing the role of homework in college classrooms is a challenge Margerum says is worth confronting. Rather than busywork students can use to game the grading system, reinventing homework as a critical component of learning is an idea Margerum says deserves attention. Not only might a digital collection of tools help achieve this goal, but it could improve how instructors perform in the classroom as well.

Margerum’s students want more from their homework as well. It’s why Cengage Learning’s OWLv2, a cloud-based learning system that provides chemistry students with a collection of study and test preparation tools designed to foster engagement and better grades, was met with so much enthusiasm.Rather than traditional homework, students now had a variety of ways in which they might interact with their assignments and better prepare for tests. For instance, not only does OWLv2 offer mastery learning problems and dynamic end-of-chapter questions, but it also presses students to tunnel deeper into often complex chemistry topics by helping them visualize concepts with simulation exercises and visual experiences.

In this success story, you’ll read how OWLv2 has helped instructors at USF become more productive and create assignments that inspire increased student engagement. You’ll also read how it’s enabled students to complete and
comprehend more of their homework assignments and improve their chemistry class grades.



» Download the OWLv2 Success Story.