How to render your homework assignments useful for you and the world

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Homework is a word that probably very few associate with something positive, and here, I will summarize four recent (independent but converging) twists on the topic:
(1) a study by researchers at the Technical University of Dresden (see press release, German only: http://idw-online.de/pages/de/news245011 ) has demonstrated that homework assignments do indeed fail, in most cases, to help the student in learning;

(2) Citizendium, a wiki-type free encyclopedia aimed at improving general credibility and article quality with respect to Wikipedia, has launched an initiative which encourages university instructors to assign Citizendium articles as homework for which students can get credits (see press release at
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/CZ:Citizendium_Press_Releases/Jan242008 );

(3) OpenStudents.org, upon whose inauguration I have commented previously (http://www.ways.org/en/2008/jan/31/1915/daniel/open_students_platform_st...), now features an article on a very similar approach - to let students deposit their homework in freely accessible repositories, and to give them the option to comment on such contents (cf. http://www.openstudents.org/2008/02/13/student-publishing-as-an-assessme... );

(4) As previously announced, a global initiative on Open education is gaining momentum (cf. http://www.ways.org/en/2008/jan/25/0618/daniel/cape_town_open_education_... ), and (2) and (3) are important steps in this direction.

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Abdul Waheed Kandhro's picture

This is very excellent

This is very excellent artical posted here for the dissemination of information .actually we should develop the resources for conducting the Research activity .

Abdul Waheed Kandhro's picture

Homework activity plays

Homework activity plays very effective roll in ones academic development. Because self-assessment and analysis is necessary for the understanding of the topic. So in home this activity can be performed very easily and reliably. Secondly homework is very essential for the newcomers and student, through this activity they keep themselves engaged and busy in their study

MCrosby's picture

While I was away in

While I was away in Cleveland, I noted that there was a commercial speaking about a new initiative for students to be in "online" school. Here is the website: http://www.vcslearn.org/. While I think that there are benefits to interacting with people in real settings, there are also some good things that might arise from these types of situations. I think that this, in particular, maybe just the ticket to changing how people view work hours and the work day. If one can be effectively working from a home, then buildings for interacting with others may, at some point, become somewhat obsolete--along with the expectations for being in an office from 8-5. Clearly, this has already started with regard to stock markets and industries that have become multinational. As for drawbacks, I see that this type of model may have a homogenizing effect in that that focuses on the teachings by/for one particular instructor. Along with this is that fact that there may be less teachers required for the future; I wonder how this may affect the future of colleges and universities that may eventually go in this direction. Of course, for some fields, (like my own of molecular biology), one has to be in an area that has the infrastructure to support the work. However, in the case of earning other degrees, like MBAs, this is not the case.

daniel's picture

A report on a the experience

A report on a the experience of creating Wikipedia articles as homework assignments is at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:MMM , and a discussion on the relative merits of doing coursework via Wikipedia or via the dedicated Eduzendium program at Citizendium can be found at http://blog.citizendium.org/2008/04/01/this-founders-vision-has-not-yet-... .