Traditional course taught on campus. Student body is primarily comprised of biology or other science majors. There are 1800 students annually in Bio 1020, of which I teach 800. There are 1200 students in Bio 1030, of which I teach 250. There is a required lab component. I run all of the labs.
Students have the potential of earning 1000 points through the course semester. The lab and final exam are each worth 250 points each. Homework in the form of MasteringBiology and in-class clicker questions make up 100 points together. The mid-term exams make up the rest of the score.
I used to use only my own questions on the final and on exams. Now, I put a lot of questions that were on MasteringBiology assignments on mid-term exams and on the final. I use mainly the MasteringBiology difficulty level of higher than 1. I'm pleased to see my students are doing better than the national average. If my students do worse than the national data, I review my notes/lecture and usually will not test that item on a formal exam.
Assignments are created with the exams in mind. They aren't necessarily weekly, but they follow a modular approach. Each exam may have two to three unique assignments. The assignments include BioFlix Tutorials and Test Bank items. Assignments are posted fairly early so students can keep pace with the class. Assignments remain up until the day after the exam.
To encourage active thinking over mindless guessing, there is a penalty associated with wrong answers on multiple choice questions. Students lose 20% for each wrong multiple choice question. They are told to treat these online assignments as a take home test. Students, however, can take as much time as they need to complete an assignment. Students who finish after the due date receive a late penalty.
The final exam is comprehensive. Thus, the assignments remain up the entire semester, allowing students time to go back and review.
I love the MasteringBiology duration and difficulty data. The Tutorials are especially enlightening on what students are doing outside of class. We can see what questions students are missing; what they are learning, how much time they are spending on homework, etc. It gives me early feedback on what students are doing outside of class. If I find they are not paying attention to critical material, I can intervene.
MasteringBiology has the potential to affect student performance positively if I make it a part of their grade. This is a great tool for self-assessment. If the students do the work, especially for the Tutorial type questions, it helps them to learn the material. It is a tool for them to use to assess themselves. Students have given glowing reviews on MasteringBiology.
Also the Study Area is easier to use in MasteringBiology than it was from CourseCompass... there is much less clicking. I show the BioFlix in class. I show students where they can go to see these same resources.
MasteringBiology has quickly become an integral part of my class. I struggled for years about what to have students do outside of class. I wasn't completely comfortable with CourseCompass. So MasteringBiology is a big boost in what I can accomplish outside of class.