Written by: Jeff Sheppard Issue date: 10/16/08
ASU is currently teaching college algebra and other math classes in two ways.
Some of the classes are using a disc made by Hawkes Learning Systems while other classes are still using a book to teach students.
Students using computers have a distinct advantage over the students using the book version of these classes. So if you have a choice, it is my opinion that you choose the class that will utilize the computer.
Books are not as functional as the computer versions of any of the classes. These books have a limited amount of review questions and only give the students feedback by giving the answers to the odd questions.
Teachers have a difficult time assigning homework because of the fact that they have to review the many pages of problems from so many students.
This adds to the problem of students not receiving enough feedback for their work, putting students at a disadvantage because they don't know what they are doing wrong in some situations.
The Hawkes Learning System has come up with a very nice program for students and teachers both. This system gives an infinite amount of practice problems and instant feedback for students to learn from their mistakes.
Because of the certify feature available on the system, teachers can ensure that students are not only doing their homework but also learning the material. Students must complete their homework problems with a certain amount of accuracy before taking an exam.
Some students find this to be a hassle because without certification, the computer will not allow them to take the test. However, it is this feature that ensures students will understand the problems.
Through the implementation of an infinite amount of practice problems and interactive step-by-step tutorials, students gain an understanding of each type of problem.
Students can look at practice problems that are identical to the problems they will be solving in the certification portion of each section. The step-by-step tutorial feature shows students every part of a problem and labels the formulas necessary for solving each problem.
I believe that ASU should implement the Hawkes Learning System for every possible math class. Instead of using books for some sections and computers for other sections, the school should use the computer system for all classes in one area if there are classes offered using the discs.
Students using the books are at a disadvantage compared to those students using the computer system, so enroll in courses that use the computer whenever possible.
Sheppard, Jeff. "Computer-based Math Classes Are Better for Students." ASU Herald. Arkansas State University, 16 Oct. 2008.