Homework completion has been quite a challenge back in the days of face to face teaching let alone in this new reality we are all living through. How many times have you asked yourself of “How do I make sure my students are ready for homework and they comply with the deadlines?” Well, let’s look at some ideas that can help to manage the completion of homework a bit easier and in a more stress free way.
- Don’t change the habits
I am sure you had a specific slot in your lesson plan when you were checking homework in face to face classes. Your students were used to that, they knew that homework is going to be checked, nothing changed with the shift to online teaching. Continue the same routine and integrate the homework check part in your online classes.
Some might argue and quite rightfully that homework check takes up a lot of time in face to face classes let alone during the online ones. True, but we cannot cancel the fact that it needs to be paid attention to, as 50% of the learning if not more happens in individual learning or self-learning time which is reflected in doing homework among other activities.
Hence, instead of skipping the stage of checking homework, we can create share the keys with the learners as we did in face to face classes 15 minutes before the class, let them check and discuss the questions they might have during the class. Another alternative, is to create self-checked tests and exercises and not bother with the key.
2. Create a log
Students need to be trained to take responsibility for their learning. An interesting and a quite effective way of tracking homework is creating homework completion logs and asking the students to fill it in when they have completed a task and are ready to receive the keys. Alternatively, depending on the type of the task, they can be asked to submit the link of the task they have completed.
This gives you a chance to work with longer tasks and exercises, which should be completed within a week for instance, in other words, work with deadlines. In this case the students will have a chance to manage their time on their own. At the same time, seeing the log being filled in by their peers, might motivate them to try and catch up with each other. A healthy competition never killed nobody 🙂
A sample Homework completion log can be found below:
The Task description column is where you explain what the students need to do, where they need to go, you can add links, other resources, etc. It’s a nice practice to highlight the cells of the current tasks so that students don;t get confused which one they have to work with. Imagine this list growing during the semester, it will be much easier for the students to find the required task by located it easily as it is highlighted in green for instance.
The submission deadline is when the students need to be ready for the task. It’s a good practice to change the colour of this cell when the deadline is approaching to yellow, then red, to grab students’ attention
The Name of the student can be written by the teacher in advance, so that the order of the students doesn’t change with every task.
The Status column is edited by the students. They can also add links if the task is uploaded elsewhere.
This log gives the students a chance to visually track their homework completion and get an instance picture of how their progress is on the home assignments.
3. Use different platforms
With the shift to teaching and learning online and the development of various online platforms, it has become much easier to create tasks and exercises which are fun and engaging to complete in contrast to the old famous pen and paper routine.
To make homework completion more fun and be able to track it at the same time, upgrade your knowledge of the existing platforms and make it easy and doable both for you and your students.
Some of my favourite online platforms that I use to check homework and track how the students are complying with it, are Kahoot — now it has a new feature where students can play on their own, no need for a facilitator and record the results, Quizlet — creating classrooms and using the self-check exercises is a life saver, Schoology, Moodle — these are platforms that allow to create full courses inside and record students submissions. They are quite user-friendly and are full functioning learning platforms.
4. Ask the students
You might be surprised how creative students can get by simply asking them how they would like their homework completion should be tracked. First of all, by doing this you will give them the freedom of choice and hold them responsible for further following the rules and suggestions set up by them.
Here are some ideas that we have been using to follow up on student home tasks. What are some other ways that you have addressed to help you keep track of it?