Monday, November 23, 2009

It's All About the Incentives

We've been told that the university wants to get higher levels of responses to the online course evaluations. I can make that happen.

I was planning on dropping some low homework scores, anyway, and I've decided to link the number of dropped homeworks (and the amount of notes that students can bring to the final) to the number of students responding to the evaluation. At 80% participation, I would drop one homework, at 85% I would drop two, at 90% I would drop three and let them bring a 3x5 note card, and 95% I'd drop four homeworks and let them bring an 8.5 x 11 note sheet. At 100% I said five dropped homeworks and open notes, but I can't imagine that anyone thinks that we'll get 100% participation.

Did I pre-calculate and figure out how much these dropped homeworks affect their scores? Very, very little. It's online homework where you have 20 chances at each problem. Hard-working students have consistently high scores, and slackers have consistently low scores. When your homework grades have very little spread, dropping a few low scores doesn't really change your homework average.

And being able to bring notes? I will write the final exam accordingly.