If variety is the spice of life nowhere is that more evident than inside a university classroom where distractions abound and students can easily find other things to do rather than focus on lectures and concentrate on homework. “I want them to know the homework assignments aren’t just busy work,” said Steven Neal, an organic chemistry professor at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.
Unfortunately, the students in Neal’s classes were not taking the homework assignments seriously because they did not feel completing the assignments helped them do better on exams. Combine this perception with the fact that strictly guided organic chemistry homework can lack variability and it’s exactly why students were ignoring the homework and preparing for tests with nothing more than classroom lectures.
Neal quickly realized the role of homework had to change if his students were going to do better at test time. Not only might a digital tool help Neal create more compelling homework assignments, but it might also give him more time to offer more individualized attention to struggling students. The variety Neal was itching to add came to fruition when the University adopted OWLv2, an online learning system that provides chemistry students with a collection of study and test-preparation tools designed to foster engagement and improve grades.
In this case study, you’ll discover how OWLv2 improved the quality of students’ homework and increased the instructor’s effectiveness. In turn, the improved homework completion rates resulted in higher course grades. In the case study, you’ll also see how OWL’s emphasis on critical thinking skills positioned Dr. Neal’s students to excel beyond the classroom.