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Increasing Student Engagement in Homework

Research Initiation Grant

EEC – Engineering Education Research Initiation Grant Award 1137013


  • Richard Bennett, Engineering Fundamentals
  • Taimi Olsen, Tennessee Teaching and Learning Center
  • Will Schleter, Engineering Fundamentals
  • Stan Guffey, Tennessee Teaching and Learning Center
  • Wenshu Li, Graduate Student

Project Summary

With increasing demands being placed on engineering curricula due to increased knowledge and added topics, it is important that out-of-class work be carefully used, that it be efficient, and that students are actually learning through homework, not just completing menial tasks.

Student engagement in homework is examined through collaboration between the University of Tennessee Engineering Fundamentals Division and the University of Tennessee Teaching and Learning Center, bringing together a multidisciplinary team. This collaboration of individuals represents expertise from engineering, the behavioral sciences, the physical sciences, collaborative education and educational assessment.

The objective of this proposed research is to increase the student engagement and learning effectiveness of homework in first year engineering courses. For purposes of this research, the objective means two things: 1) an increasing number of students complete their homework; 2) students are more actively engaged in learning through the homework process. To accomplish the objective, this project consists of three main tasks:

  • Identify why students are not doing homework, and then develop strategies to address it.
  • Systematically examine what appear to be recent successes, e.g., a bonus for early completion.
  • Extend collaborative learning currently used in recitation to homework through the formation of homework study groups and the emphasis on best practices in collaborative learning.

Publications, Presentations, and Results

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EEC-1137013. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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