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Abstract

This paper describes the programming procedures required to implement online homework and evaluates the application of these procedures based on use in the author's course. The description of the procedures utilizes a template showing two representative applications from the author's introductory econometrics course. In one, the students are to collect and record data and in the other, students are to perform econometric analysis on the data. The web address for the template is arec.arizona.edu/RoboTA. The use of online homework in the author's economics of futures market course revealed that the benefit-cost tradeoff is between the savings of instructional time spent grading homework and increased instructional time spent developing homework assignments. Online homework is favored by (1) large class sizes, (2) numerous, difficult to grade, numerical homework assignments, (3) continuity of these conditions, and (4) the availability of adaptable programming solutions. Online homework was not found to be more effective in helping students learn, though in some instances automation can lead to more assignments and these additional assignments can be beneficial. The implementation of online homework was associated perceptions of greater usefulness of the course web site and lectures.

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