Textbook publishers add online tools to win over professors

USA Today – “What changed was that Hildreth started instructing his students to do their homework online through a suite of “Mastering” tools from Pearson, which the publishing giant is marketing alongside its textbooks. Not only does the software tell Hildreth which problems students are getting wrong, it tells him why they are getting them wrong, so he can tailor his class sessions to reinforce certain concepts accordingly. It also relieves him of the burden of grading homework for dozens of students — a task so time-consuming, Hildreth says, that it forces many math and science professors to extrapolate homework grades on assignments based on only a few answers. Historically, this flawed grading method has prompted professors to count homework for a disproportionately small percentage of each student’s overall grade, giving their students little incentive to spend much time on it.”

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