Traditional course taught on campus. Student body is primarily comprised of biology or other science majors. 500 students are serviced through this course. Section sizes are about 30 students. I teach two sections. There is a required lab component.
60% of the grade comes from two exams: the midterm and final. 30% of the grade comes from lab quizzes and lab reports. MasteringBiology makes up the remaining 10%.
Students are expected to complete their assigned homework within MasteringBiology. There is one assignment per chapter. Assignments include a mix of question types: Skill Builder Tutorials, Activities and multiple choice questions from the Test Bank. As a further incentive to students, some of the same Test Bank items are included on the exams.
In preparing an assignment, I take into consideration the program's averages on duration and difficulty. After the assignment is finished, I use the Gradebook diagnostics. Sometimes students will complain that they are spending three hours on an assignment, when I can see that they have only been logged in for 45 minutes. I also use the Gradebook to export scores.
Students who don't use the program tend to drop the course. Some students say the homework has helped, but there are also the typical complaints. Students complain about the amount of time they are expected to put into their homework. I don't mind these sorts of complaints because the students are doing homework.
What I like about MasteringBiology is that it keeps the students thinking about biology outside of class. I can even check on their progress before the due date to see who is working, who is finished, etc. Overall, I'm satisfied with the program. Probably to get the most out of the program requires one to stick with it over time. We're going to do just that and use it again next term. I also use MasteringChemistry. Both programs are working fine!