NIU classrooms have online presence

By Hailey Kurth

DeKALB | Technology now allows professors to assign online class work, as opposed to having in-class assignments.

Joseph Scudder, associate professor of communication, utilizes both in-class quizzes and after-class online quizzes. Scudder said he uses both methods because each serves a different purpose.

In-class quizzes or assignments require the students to have already read the material before class, Scudder said, which keeps students reading. He said he uses the out-of-class assignments to keep his students involved in the material.

“If you know we’re going to have an online quiz, it keeps people more involved in taking notes and answering the questions during class that they know they may have on a quiz later,” Scudder said.

Sharon Smaldino, the Morgridge chair for teacher education, said there is no difference between online or in-class assignments when it comes to the expectation teachers have of students. However, students may learn or take the quizzes differently depending on the variables of each method, Smaldino said.

“If it’s an [online] quiz that’s set up to be timed, more than likely you don’t have a whole lot of options to go and find your materials, so you do need to kind of know what you’re doing,” Smaldino said. “If it’s an [online] quiz for which there is opportunity for you to take it repeatedly until you’re successfully through it, it gives you a chance to review the material and to perhaps learn the material differently.”

When taking a quiz in a face-to-face class setting, students most likely will not be able to check their answers or responses and usually are not able to go back and retake it, Smaldino said.

Scudder said his students receive higher grades on online quizzes than in-class ones. Even if a student misses class, they still can read the articles and get some questions right on the online quiz, Scudder said.

“Say there was material that they missed by not being in class, and there’s six questions,” Scudder said, “Probably four of those questions often are going to come from the readings.”

Junior accountancy major Melissa Sommerfield said she doesn’t enjoy one more than the other, but has noticed in-class assignments tend to be easier in her upper level classes.

“One thing that I don’t like about outside homework is that there isn’t a teacher there to ask questions during the process,” Sommerfield said. “This can help you, though, in the long run because doing homework out of class teaches you to take initiative in figuring and learning some material on your own, which is what you’ll have to do in the real world as well.”