The course is General Biology 101 for Non Majors. The course is composed of 170 students, a mix of freshman and sophomore students. It is a traditional lecture course.
Students are graded on exams, quizzes and homework. They are given weekly written homework assignments. MasteringBiology is given as extra credit.
The course is divided into four units: 1) cell biology 2) genetics and reproduction 3) evolution and 4) ecology. Currently, I create MasteringBiology review assignments based on the test bank questions. Students use these questions in three ways: 1) to review after class 2) to review after reading or 3) to review before tests. The questions are aligned to the concepts given in the next lecture. Although voluntary, 90% of the students have opted to use MasteringBiology.
Next semester, I'm thinking of using it for assignable homework. If so, I'll add more activities that include animations and question types based on art, such as the labeling activities. These types of art-based questions require the students to think through the process rather than memorize facts.
I find the diagnostic data very useful. I analyze the difficulty and time stamp data for my class.
This is the first time using MasteringBiology so it is too early to spot any trends. However, some students have mentioned that they like using the program and have found it helpful.
MasteringBiology was recommended to me by colleagues; and in turn I would also recommend it. MasteringBiology is a good tool for students to review what they learn in class, to prepare for next class and for assessment. I like hints and trial/errors approach.