Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Teach 180: The Value of Homework (Day 3)

What is the purpose of homework?  If you asked students, some would say, "it is something we are expected to do to prepare for college."  Others might say, "It's something I need to do, because it is worth 15% of my grade."  And finally, a few might reply, "It is something my parents want me to do, but I have better things to do with my time."  In my mind, these students don't understand the purpose of homework or at least my personal view of the purpose of homework.

I see homework as a chance for students to work with the concepts learned in class some more.  Ideally, they should have learned enough that they can do many of the problems right, but they may get stuck or get some wrong, too.  Getting stuck and making mistakes is part of the learning process.  It isn't evil or a sign of bad teaching or a sign that the student wasn't paying attention in class.  In my classroom, I have a Postulate of Learning that states "Choosing to not do an assignment robs you of an opportunity to learn." However, each year there are students that don't believe that postulate is true and rob themselves of learning by doing things like erasing a page number from the top of the assignment and putting the page number at the top for what was due for that day.  This gives the illusion that they completed their homework.  Or they will copy off of another student or they will use the website called slader to get all the answers to their homework.   

Today I was curious if our new book for Calculus was on slader and I was happy to see the following:

Of course students could still see slader on their phone or at home, but calling it plagiarism is correct.  Copying the answers and work from slader means the student didn't do or create the work himself or herself.   Does this match with the definition of plagiarism?  According to google dictionary, I would say "Yes".

It should be noted that ironically enough, slader has an Academic Integrity section in its FAQs.  They ask their users to report any solutions that they suspect have been stolen or copied from another source.   I will likely be blogging about homework in my Teach 180 blog several times this year. Stay tuned!

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