Erin E. Wilson1, Sarah A. Kennedy*2
1 Chemistry Department, Westminster College, 319 South Market Street, New Wilmington, Pnnsylvania 16172, United States
2 Chemistry Department, Radford University, 801 East Main Street, Radford, Virginia 24142, United States
Online Approaches to Chemical Education
Chapter 9, pp 101–130
ACS Symposium Series, Vol. 1261
ISBN13: 9780841232471eISBN: 9780841232457
Publication Date (Web): October 26, 2017
Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society
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Use of online learning systems in place of traditional paper-and-pencil homework in general chemistry courses has tremendously expanded over the past decade. These systems, like paper-and-pencil homework, serve the purpose of providing students with practice in essential problem-solving skills. However, due to advances in both technology and cognitive science, online learning systems have become substantially different than paper-and-pencil homework in pedagogically important ways. In this review, we discuss the range of features of online learning systems such as immediate feedback, multiple attempts, linking to resources, adaptive technology, and mastery requirements in light of modern cognitive science principles to reveal potential for improvements in student learning and possible student learning pitfalls. Online learning systems can be categorized as responsive, mastery-based and adaptive. We provide a guide to this categorization and the features built into current online learning systems for general chemistry and review the nascent body of literature on the impact of online learning systems on student outcomes in general chemistry and other courses. Finally, we discuss some new developments that may soon arrive on the scene for online learning systems.
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Journal of Chemical Education: Publication Date (Web): August 14, 2013
Online Homework Put to the Test: A Report on the Impact of Two Online Learning Systems on Student Performance in General Chemistry.
Jack F. Eichler and Junelyn Peeples, University of California, Riverside, CA
"Students who completed the online homework activities performed significantly better on a common comprehensive final exam than students who did not participate. More specifically, students who completed a precourse assignment in ALEKS could expect, on average, their final exam score to increase by over 13 points. Students who worked in ALEKS for the entire quarter saw even greater gains. . . These findings suggest responsive online homework in general, and a responsive-adaptive learning system driven by knowledge space theory in particular, has a significant positive impact on student performance.
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The Chemical Educator: Abstract Volume 18 (2013), pp 074-079
Online Homework and Student Success in Preparatory Chemistry.
Professors David Saiki and Andreas Gebauer, California State University Bakersfield, CA
"Adoption of ALEKS and subsequent inter-departmental coordination of assignments and deadlines led to increased student success . . . As a result of our efforts, we were able to increase the pass rate for this course from 60.8% in the fall quarter 2009 to 73.9% in the fall quarter of 2012. The average GPA in CHEM 101 increased from 1.96 to 2.42. At the same time, students scores on the ACS 2009 Toledo Examination improved from an average of 27 (+6.0) in the pre-test to 34 (+6.8) in the post-test. This represents an improvement from the 25 to the 59 percentile compared to national data."
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Campus Technology:Online System Brings Individualized Learning to Colorado State Chem Lectures, by Linda L. Briggs. 06/24/09
ALEKS has replaced traditional homework in Professor Dysleski's classes with Web-based individual study programs. . . The result: Students can't share homework answers because ALEKS is assigning completely different questions based on skills and abilities. Dysleski, who was skeptical until her department tested ALEKS last summer, has seen other benefits as well. "I love that my students are more prepared during lectures," she said. "I love that they're actually doing homework on their own. I love that they're coming to office hours with good questions."
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"The single most important effect that ALEKS has had is a fundamental shift in my office hours. Students are no longer asking me basic questions, but are instead asking about the very difficult, multi-concept, end-of-chapter questions. Even my weaker students are able to get to and focus on the more challenging questions. ALEKS is obviously helping students learn the background concepts, and I can now spend time in office hours and lecture integrating multiple concepts and going deeper into the material."
- Dr. Douglas Mulford, Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Emory University, GA
"My students have become better problem solvers since I have implemented ALEKS into my Introductory Chemistry course. They ask fewer questions regarding the logistics of solving problems in chemistry, and more in-depth meaning-making questions. I have also seen an improvement in their success on exams."
- Associate Professor Rebecca Krystyniak, St. Cloud University, MN
"Online homework had a significant and positive impact on final exam performance for all students, and for underrepresented groups in particular. ALEKS had a significantly larger positive impact than Mastering Chemistry."
- Dr. Jack Eichler, Lecturer, University of California Riverside, CA
"What stands out is the performance of several students who failed the readiness test by a few points but were allowed to stay in Physics 111 because they demonstrated a good proficiency level in ALEKS. Two such students ended up getting A grades in the course, and one of these was in the top 8% of the class. Three other students in this category received B grades. Without ALEKS, these students would have been dropped from the course. These five students all put in 15-20 hours or more with ALEKS, and it is fairly clear that they benefited from that work."
- Professor James M. Lockhart, San Francisco State University, CA
"ALEKS has been a tremendous asset to my classroom. Students only work on concepts that they have proven they are ready to learn, allowing for a customized learning experience for each student. This is ideal for classrooms such as mine where students have diverse science and math backgrounds. ALEKS helps students to not only learn the material but to retain the knowledge. Students are able to put in as much or as little time as individually needed to MASTER the material. I have seen an increase in not only exam averages, but also final exam scores thanks to this program."
- Professor Robbie Montgomery, University of Tennessee Martin, TN
"My overall experience with ALEKS has been frustratingly wonderful. I relied primarily on ALEKS to explain concepts that were otherwise difficult to self-teach from the text. The program has absolutely helped me to improve my grade and confidence in chemistry."
- Raymond Metzger, Northwestern University, IL
"I have struggled big time with chemistry before for different reasons, which always brought me down because of my desire to go into the health professions . . . but after using ALEKS I feel very good about the class for the first time! It is a very encouraging tool because not only do we get to visually see our progress on the pie chart, but it also tells us after every practice problem that if we do well we can move on to a different topic. It helps keep the goals in mind as opposed to doing what would feel like an infinite number of problems and not knowing how close we are to advancing on the material. THANKS to my instructor for introducing us to ALEKS."
- Miriam, University of California, Santa Cruz
"I'm finding the ALEKS homework very helpful and wish other professors would adopt such a system. It's almost like having a personal tutor."
- Michael Sanchez, University of North Texas, TX
"I took a chemistry course last year and was always frustrated by the program we were using because I did not find it helpful; I did not pass the course. After spending only an hour and a half in ALEKS for my new chemistry course, I love it! ALEKS is much easier to input answers, to get help, and to get explanations that are clear. I hope to do well in this course and I think ALEKS will be very helpful."
- Laura Lysyj, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, VA
"My overall experience with ALEKS was excellent. I went from AP Chemistry with a 1 on the AP Exam and finished my first quarter of college Chemistry with a B+. I am extremely confident that the reason I excelled in my class was because of ALEKS. The beauty of ALEKS is that it provides you with detailed, various, and descriptive examples. Furthermore, in a freshman class with a 300-500 student lecture, ALEKS enabled me to work at my own pace. I also spent my own money to continue using ALEKS for classes that did not include the program."
- David Johnson, The Ohio State University, OH