Online homework in General Chemistry
The number of chemistry courses making the move to digital learning platforms has skyrocketed in recent years, sparking amazing innovation in how this challenging subject matter is taught. Introducing technology can make a world of difference and provide greater comprehension and engagement for students, as well as welcomed assistance for busy instructors. However, the ease of use of that technology can be a key difference between a smashing success or a hindrance.
Sambuddah (Sam) Banerjee, a Teaching Assistant Professor at East Carolina University, is familiar with the possible pitfalls of course technology. Having incorporated several online homework platforms throughout his career, he knows that if the technology cannot be easily understood by both teachers and students it becomes a roadblock. “For a student, if their cognition and their concentration is spent on understanding the web platform, they don’t have anything left for understanding the science.” With General Chemistry class sizes of around 150 students, Sam counts on any program he uses to operate smoothly and efficiently for all his students, all the time.
Breaking down the barriers
Thankfully for Sam and his students, he no longer experiences those struggles with his current homework platform, Aktiv Chemistry. Since Sam implemented Aktiv Chemistry for his homework assignments, he’s found that issues he experienced with former software have all but disappeared. “Previously, the students would incessantly email me because of something going wrong. That doesn’t happen anymore. [Aktiv Chemistry] is so intuitive that students do not need a lot of training.”¹
Focusing on chemistry, not learning software
With an easily navigated interface and interactive modules designed for the student experience, Aktiv Chemistry allows for quick setup without a hefty instruction manual. For all of Sam’s chemistry classes at ECU, he has been able to seamlessly introduce Aktiv Chemistry’s engaging homework capabilities without having to spend days or weeks walking his students through every aspect of the platform. “[The students’] anxiety and their frustration has gone down a lot, which impacts me because then I have more time to talk about science rather than calming them down.”
Sam finds Aktiv Chemistry to be far more impactful than other platforms, especially when it comes to the study and creation of Lewis structures. With Aktiv Chemistry’s Lewis structure drawing tool, Sam’s students are able to more successfully create and understand these diagrams. “I remember when students were trying to draw Lewis structures through the previous platform and they would constantly email me because it wasn’t very intuitive.” In addition, using Aktiv Chemistry’s dimensional analysis modules has been invaluable to Sam’s students. “The visual effect that Aktiv Chemistry has in terms of dimensional analysis, the way students can see how to arrange the units in the correct way, I really appreciate that!”¹
An equally important factor in choosing an online homework system is having a platform that provides instructor support to tackle any questions or issues efficiently. In fact, for Sam, it is imperative and continues to be a major selling point for continuing to use Aktiv Chemistry year after year. With Aktiv Chemistry, unlike many of its technological peers, you have an instructional success manager available for any needs rather than an automated support system. As Sam puts it, “I’m talking to a human being, not a computer, when I communicate with Aktiv Chemistry.”¹
In Sam’s classroom, as well as hundreds more around the country, Aktiv Chemistry’s support staff are available to make sure that user experiences are as flawless as possible. “There have been times that the support team will solve a problem that I didn’t even ask for. That’s something that I think is tremendously helpful.” Aktiv Chemistry instructors know that they’ve adopted a technology that comes with a support team that has their backs, giving chemistry students and instructors the opportunity to thrive.