Homework habits – if it is broken, fix it


Bioengineering; Civil Engineering

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Tomorrow’s Professor

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The literature on undergraduate engineering education widely reports on the benefits of cooperative learning techniques as instruments for improving student learning. Cooperative learning (CL) involves individuals helping each other achieve a common set of objectives. Homework performed as a group would be an example of unsupervised CL. This paper analyzes student self-reported individual and/or group efforts on homework for two engineering classes at the University of the Pacific: Engineering Mechanics I (Statics) and Fluid Mechanics I. Some students appear to be extremely steadfast with their homework habits following poor performance on exams in the early stages of both courses. Indeed for such students that it would be in their interest to try a different homework approach, only 30% showed a change in how they complete homework. Thus, it may be incumbent upon the instructor to highlight, if necessary, the need for change in homework study habits as soon as possible and suggest ways of doing so, e.g. tutors, study groups and/or instructor's office hours. In doing so, students may discover the benefits of applying different homework strategies.


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