Traditional course taught on campus. This course is comprised of both biology majors and non-majors. There is a lab component. Four instructors teach one unit in the course. All instructors use MasteringBiology.
There are four exams throughout the year worth 20% each and one final exam is 20%. There is no cumulative final exam. MasteringBiology is not part of the grade. Students use it optionally. At this time we cannot require students to use any online program because we cannot be sure they will have access to the program.
MasteringBiology is recommended, but not required. Even so, a lot of students have opted to use the program. We have a large class size of 1000 students. There are 600 (or 60%) of students using the program. We use a custom Pearson book that comes with MasteringBiology access code. To motivate students to use the program, there will be some questions from their final exam taken directly from MasteringBiology's Item Library.
There are chapter-based assignments of about 20 minutes duration. The assignments are comprised of a mix of test bank items, tutorials and activities. The items are selected based on MasteringBiology's own difficulty statistics. The program reports on difficulty for each item based on real student usage. Difficulty ratings range from 1 to 5, with 5 being the hardest. Only difficult items of 4 and 5 ratings are included in assignments.
Students who consistently did work in MasteringBiology outperformed students who did not engage with the program. It is not possible to make any stronger claims because it is probable that these motivated students who were willing to do any extra outside work would do better. As an extra study tool, however, MasteringBiology has benefits.
I will continue to use MasteringBiology. Creating assignments and using MasteringBiology's filters is easy and the gradebook provides comprehensive statistics. Student feedback has been positive overall. Students always want more practice. MasteringBiology provides them with this opportunity. Those students who elect to use MasteringBiology perform dramatically better than their peers who don't use this resource.