An Ode to Homework in a Digital Age


Carl Colglazier


November 30, 2015

I am writing this post at an average speed of thirty-five miles an hour. I am on the bus, heading home from another busy day on campus. I usually use this time to catch up on class reading, but today I will use this time to catch up on class writing.

The further I get into this semester, the more amazed I am at how much my university experience differs from that of my parents; I use technology in just about every area of my studies. Only one of classes that I am taking this semester has a physical textbook (this class ironically being an introductory computer science class). Furthermore, many of my classes use online services such as Moodle or WebAssign to manage homework and assignments. While I am by no means receiving an online education, I double that this experience would be possible without the aid of the Internet.

It may be easy to complain that automatic software like WebAssign or Moodle has flaws, but overall, I have found computer-aided grading to be a valuable tool for learning. Having my mathematics homework in WebAssign, for example, allows me to receive instant feedback on homework problems before I complete the entire worksheet, something which simply would not be possible with a human grader. I have come to really appreciate this feedback since it is so much easier to practice problems when you are able to easily find out if you are completely off-course.

So I am taking these last few minutes on the bus to give thanks to technological homework. Where would we be without you?