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ERIC Number: EJ1006875
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 13
ISSN: ISSN-1557-5284
Longitudinal Study of Online Statics Homework as a Method to Improve Learning
Arora, Manohar L.; Rho, Yun Jin; Masson, Claire
Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, v14 n1 p36-44 Jan-Mar 2013
Background: Score improvements and retention are important metrics in studying the efficacy of any learning intervention. Research studies have shown a positive correlation between time spent completing online homework assignments and student performance on final exams. Yet these studies are not only rare in the field of engineering; they are generally not longitudinal in nature. Method: This study design was three-fold. Firstly, it employed a quasi-experimental study using an online homework system, "MasteringEngineering", in the statics course. Students were compared in two statics courses. In one course, students submitted written homework, and in the other course students worked and submitted homework problems online. Students received the same final exam, making direct comparisons feasible. Secondly, data were gathered from a traditional Mechanics of Material course where no online homework system was employed. Again, the same final exam was given for direct comparison. Thirdly, a concept analysis was run using Concept Assessment Tool for Statics (Steif, 2010). Results: Students who used the online system showed an improvement of 0.7 ([plus or minus] 0.2) in effect size on the final exam when compared to written homework. Students who used the online system scored 79 percent (SD = 8 percent; N = 69) on average on the final exam. In comparison, students prepared via written homework scored 70 percent (SD = 16 percent; N = 64) on average on the same final exam. These results held for the subsequent mechanics course where students previously prepared via online statics homework scored 79 percent (SD = 8 percent; N = 66), and students prepared via written homework scored 63 percent (SD = 18 percent; N = 79) on the same final. Furthermore, an independent instructor taught the mechanics course from the statics course, removing potential bias. Results were statistically significant. Independent of the historical analysis, another analysis was run on students in the online homework statics course. Students were given pre/post tests to measure understanding on nine concepts, with friction being the only topic yielding an inadequate learning gain (difficulty change of friction 0.04 [plus or minus]0.28). In conclusion, the online homework intervention showed an improvement of 0.7 effect size when all other elements in the course remained unchanged. (Contains 6 tables and 8 figures.)
Institute for STEM Education and Research. P.O. Box 4001, Auburn, AL 36831. Tel: 334-844-3360; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A