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Roman Young
Roman Young

College Students Homework



Several commentators have argued recently that one problem with remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic is lowered standards. Apparently, we should be worried about professors decreasing their usual homework assignments and therefore abandoning rigor.




college students homework


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The old rule of thumb for homework is that a college student should spend two hours studying outside of class for each Carnegie credit hour. A student taking a 16-hour course load should devote roughly 32 hours a week to homework, spending a total of 48 hours each week dedicated to academics. Perhaps that would have been reasonable in 1906, the year that the Carnegie hour was invented, when only a small sector of the population went to college and more than 80 percent of college students attended elite, private, residential institutions.


In Introduction to Transformative Teaching and Learning in the Humanities and Social Sciences, a graduate class that I co-teach with LaGuardia Community College professor Eduardo Vianna (an M.D. who also holds a Ph.D. in developmental psychology), our students are rethinking every possible aspect of graduate, professional and undergraduate training. In this class, we ask what counts -- and who gets to count. We ask what we teach, why and how and to whom. We ask what it means to introduce students to a field. In our student-led, participatory course, we do not just talk about requirements, but we also ask the far deeper question of what students require for mastery of a field. What kinds of mastery serve students beyond college? Is the goal of higher education to learn from an expert? Or to gain the tools and skills that will allow students to become experts themselves in whatever they hope to accomplish? How does one do that?


How much homework should we assign? There is no one right answer, but it is crucial to spend time thoughtfully focusing on the question. We can begin by asking what we wish students to accomplish outside of class and why. We also need to ask about the level of the class, the amount of preparation students bring to it and the material constraints on their time outside of class. Finally, we need to be honest with ourselves about the actual amount of work we are assigning, and we need to make the hard choices before the class begins. As an undergraduate English major, I was assigned Moby Dick to read in a week; in graduate school, we had a week to devour Being and Time. I am positive no one finished either tome.


In college, however, your professors will encourage you to learn on your own. Yes, you will be attending hours and hours of lectures and seminars, but most of your learning is going to take place in the library, with your professors taking a more backseat approach to your learning process. This independent learning structure teaches prospective students to hone their critical thinking skills, perfect their research abilities, and encourage them to come up with original thoughts and ideas.


Pope and her colleagues found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive. They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school.


The results offer empirical evidence that many students struggle to find balance between homework, extracurricular activities and social time, the researchers said. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills.


When redesigning a course or putting together a new course, faculty often struggle with how much homework and readings to assign. Too little homework and students might not be prepared for the class sessions or be able to adequately practice basic skills or produce sufficient in-depth work to properly master the learning goals of the course. Too much and some students may feel overwhelmed and find it difficult to keep up or have to sacrifice work in other courses.


The Rice Center for Teaching Excellence has some online calculators for estimating class workload that can help you get a general understanding of the time it may take for a student to read a particular number of pages of material at different levels or to complete essays or other types of homework.


Is the homework clearly connected with the learning goals of your students for a particular class session or week in the course? Students will find homework beneficial and valuable if they feel that it is meaningful. If you think students might see readings or assignments as busy work, think about ways to modify the homework to make a clearer connection with what is happening in class. Resist the temptation to assign something because the students need to know it. Ask yourself if they will actually use it immediately in the course or if the material or exercises should be relegated to supplementary material.


Students who speak English as a second language, are first generation students, or who may be having to work to support themselves as they take courses may need support to get the most out of homework. Detailed instructions for the homework, along with outlining your learning goals and how the assignment connects the course, can help students understand how the readings and assignments fit into their studies. A reading guide, with questions prompts or background, can help students gain a better understanding of a reading. Resources to look up unfamiliar cultural references or terms can make readings and assignments less overwhelming.


If you would like more ideas about planning homework and assignments for your course or more information and guidance on course design and assessment, contact Duke Learning Innovation to speak with one of our consultants.


One of the first thing that college students need to learn is how to read and remember more quickly. It gives them a competitive benefit in their grades and when they learn new information to escalate their career.


These time estimates demonstrate that college students have significantly more homework than the 10 hours per week average among high school students. In fact, doing homework in college can take as much time as a full-time job.


Students will find that some professors assign more or less homework. Students may also find that some classes assign very little homework in the beginning of the semester, but increase later on in preparation for exams or when a major project is due.


This includes not just doing homework every day of the week, but also establishing short study blocks in the morning, afternoon, and evening. With this approach, students can avoid cramming on Sunday night to be ready for class.


This site provides students with access to over 3,000 tutors who are available to help solve homework problems across an array of subjects, including: Science, Geometry, Accounting, History, Finance, Physics, Chemistry, College Homework, and more. With tutors that support middle school to college-level courses, the live tutoring and 24/7 customer support provides students with a valuable asset.


Khan Academy is an online, free and non-profit provider of education. Students can choose from an impressive list of subjects that span from all levels, including early math to AP Biology and more. The site even offers help with test prep for the SAT, ACT, MCAT, GMAT and other college-level entrance exams.


Oftentimes, it is math that challenges most students. For this reason, Study Geek offers help solely in all levels of math. From Trigonometry to Calculus, Statistics to Algebra and more, this site leverages those who have earned their PhD in Mathematics to assist students. The options to learn include math games, vocabulary, and other lessons.


Similar to Top Homework Helper, Tutor.com provides students with access to tutors. Every session is tailored to your needs as you receive your own personal tutor to help you with school for levels K-12 and college. The tutors are PhD graduates and Ivy League school teachers, professors, doctors, and more.


Chegg Study, also known as Cramster, provides students with homework help through offering solutions for your textbook and homework problems. The site also provides expert Q&A sessions and 30 minutes of free tutoring online. A searchable forum exists with questions that have previously been asked by students, which means that your answers may even be waiting for you when you arrive to the site.


When seeking help online for homework or writing assignments, you may be tempted to let someone else do the work for you. However, that is considered cheating and/or plagiarism, and it results in serious consequences, such as being expelled.


Along with homework comes the need to study for exams. Homework acts as supplementary work to reiterate all the material you learn in your classes and prepare you on a consistent basis for an upcoming exam, as well as to retain the information.


Another good time to read out loud is when you write a paper or complete homework that is a writing assignment. Oftentimes, our brain can see a typo and skip over it, but when you read it out loud, you are more likely to hear the mistake and be able to make the correction.


Many people believe that one of the positive effects of homework is that it encourages the discipline of practice. While it may be time consuming and boring compared to other activities, repetition is needed to get better at skills. Homework helps make concepts more clear, and gives students more opportunities when starting their career.


Homework is much more than just completing the assigned tasks. Homework can develop time management skills, forcing students to plan their time and make sure that all of their homework assignments are done on time. By learning to manage their time, students also practice their problem-solving skills and independent thinking. One of the positive effects of homework is that it forces decision making and compromises to be made.


Children are already sitting long hours in the classroom, and homework assignments only add to these hours. Sedentary lifestyles can be dangerous and can cause health problems such as obesity. Homework takes away from time that could be spent investing in physical activity.


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