Cooperative Homework Update

I finished grading my first assignment for my abstract algebra class, and all is well. I was particularly concerned about how the cooperative homework component would be perceived by the students—I worry about student reaction whenever I change the usual school procedure. In particular, I was concerned that students would not like having other students responsible for their grade.

It turns out that my students enjoyed it. I took a straw poll in one of my classes when I first introduced this policy, and only one student (out of 13) said he was nervous about the system. Everyone else felt either positively or neutral about the policy.

I used some class time to give students an anonymous evaluation of how the first cooperative homework assignment went. I asked some open-ended questions (“What went well?,” “What could your team improve upon?,” and “What could Bret do to help?”). I also asked the students to rank their experience on a scale of 1 (Bad Experience) to 10 (Great Experience). The high score was 10, the low was 5 (only 1 occurrence), and I think that the mode was 9. There seems to be good support for this policy.

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