Wreck: online homework sites

By on March 25, 2015

This year, upon enrolling for classes and buying my obligatory textbooks, I began to notice a trend among professors at Quinnipiac University. This year, many professors insisted on students buying online access codes in addition to already high textbook prices. These codes provide you with limited access to a website that the student will use for homework and studying purposes.

While this seems like an excellent idea in theory, it proves difficult in practice. For example, physics students use MasteringPhysics for their coursework and have weekly homework assignments. The user goes online, completes the online assignment and receives a grade immediately. This instant grading can be beneficial however, this time would be better spent getting feedback on work from an actual real life professor whom you can ask questions to. Additionally, if there is an assignment due at 1pm and the student forgets, there is no opportunity at all to receive credit or logon and complete it where as in other classes students can still receive partial credit for late work.

Another pitfall of this technology is that it makes the buying and selling of textbooks more difficult. Many books must be purchased new because the access code in the book will expire. That means that buying books for lower prices from upperclassmen isn’t an option and students in turn cant sell other people their books when they are done using them.

“Computers make the work easier, but when it comes to homework, I would prefer to have feedback from a professor”, said Sophomore Ali Fatta.

Frustrations about this are echoed by many students.

“The way the websites are set up almost makes no need for a professor.”, said sophomore Brielee McDonald. “If you mess up the spelling, the site wont give you credit for your answer which could be avoided if the teacher just assigned work from the $200 book we bought in the first place.

It’s a popular opinion on campus that while integrating technology into coursework is important, there are benefits to having professors grade the homework-something that is already covered with the tuition we pay.


About Jenna Mandozzi