With growing uncertainty around how classes would operate effectively due to Covid-19, Professor Hina began evaluating several homework platforms with the goal of improving his students learning and engagement.
With growing uncertainty around how online classes would operate effectively in the midst of Covid-19, Professor Hina began evaluating several homework platforms with the goal of improving his students' learning and engagement.
Like many other professors, this was new territory for Professor Hina, who had great success with traditional face-to-face lessons, without the support of external tools. However, in this new and extremely challenging teaching environment, he quickly saw two major challenges - class attendance and student engagement.
Historically, when he taught face-to-face, he would have 95% attendance. However, when classes abruptly flipped to being online, his attendance rate was significantly lower.
Unable to move around inside the classroom physically, make jokes, and build rapport with his students through methods gained from a decades-long teaching career, the students that did attend his live lectures had a significantly lower rate of participation than in-person classes.
"How do I attract the students to not only come to the class but energize them to participate?" - Professor Hina
Professor Hina first introduced Chem 101 (an active learning platform) in an attempt to improve student engagement, but encountered limited student adoption and engagement. While the platform did indeed offer valuable software to create three-dimensional models and ice tables, ultimately, it lacked human interaction - it was still his students and a computer. Out of the 60 students in his spring class only five or six students went to Chem 101 and began using the product.
Hina reviewed several other popular digital courseware and homework platforms for the Spring Semester however found cost a prohibitive barrier to trial any of these in his class and was left still searching for a suitable homework tool to engage his students come Summer.
Summer semesters are a marathon. The material a professor like Professor Hina would usually teach to the students in four months, now has to be absorbed in only five weeks. Instead of having one exam every three weeks, the students now have one exam every week.
Students who take these classes are all too aware of the immense challenges presented by the amount of material, and speed of the class. "If you are not a marathon spirit, this is not your class," shares Professor Hina.
In addition to the typical challenges that accompany teaching general chemistry during the summer, Dr. Hina had a new adversary to face: The COVID-19 Pandemic.
Channeling this same marathon spirit, Professor Hina spent hours pouring over Clutch Prep's platform material after connecting with founder Johnny Betancourt. He assured us that he was not going to offer something to his students unless he had confidence that Clutch Prep would be significantly more utilized than Chem 101 had been for his previous classes.
Shortly after, he made the decision to update his syllabus, and thus, made Clutch Prep a required resource for his students.
Conscious of not putting his students into further distress by changing the format of his online summer class, Professor Hina, continued to run synchronous lectures with exam dates unchanged.
He supplemented his lectures with Clutch Prep's chapter videos that followed Introductory Chemistry 9th Edition by Zumdahl & DeCoste. These broke down each section of his chemistry classes into concise videos, following a 'concept, example, practice' content delivery model. This provided students the flexibility to either review topics in their syllabus they didn’t understand or to introduce topics for which they were unable to attend the lecture.
"The visual design and instructor voiceovers of the videos, made it feel as though you are right in the room with the educator. The instructors encouraged engagement by speaking to the audience as if they were there face-to-face, often asking a question and pausing for the student to answer.."
For every section of the syllabus the students were taught, Professor Hina leveraged Clutch Prep’s periodic video-based weekly homework to provide high impact feedback loops to his students.
Students who would otherwise be missing his synchronous lectures, now had 24 hour access to class material via Clutch Prep. This allowed them to do homework any time they wanted, for however long they chose, and get instant video-based feedback regarding their correct or incorrect answer choices.
These short, expertly produced video modules created an environment where students were made to feel as if they were participating in face-to-face classes, positively impacting class engagement.
"After seeing the syllabus with ClutchPrep videos and exam reviews, there were so many resources that it made me feel more confident.'
So what were the results?
Although Professor Hina has only been using Clutch Prep in his two sections for a relatively short time, he noted that students who used Clutch Prep's online homework videos appear to have achieved an overall increase in grades, compared to students who did not use the platform. After surveying a cohort of his students we found that 90% of students credited Clutch Prep video homework as having a significant impact on their final grade in Professor Hina’s Chemistry class.
Most importantly, Professor Hina’s non-attenders, the students that missed classes completely, still had the opportunity to get a good grade by going to Clutch Prep, and learning from a flipped classroom environment by watching the assigned videos and working through the homework and examples.
Professor Hina was able to see exactly which students logged onto the platform and how long they watched the videos for. He shared that a large majority of his students, 95% to 99%, completed 100% of the videos.
Qualitative feedback from Professor Hina’s Clutch Prep students reverberated this positive sentiment, with 90% of surveyed students awarding Clutch Prep’s chapter videos as significantly better than using a textbook.
"Before, if I was trying a textbook problem and didn't know what was happening, I would email my professor and talk to my peers. There would be a big waiting period to get help. With Clutch, if I get the answer right or wrong, there’s a video explanation."
80% of these students awarding Clutch Prep’s video homework as much better than previous homework methods.
"With this homework, it doesn't matter if you're being tested; it’s all about learning. It was like I was studying while I was doing homework.”
"I have a level of understanding with this course unlike any other course I've taken. I had Dr. Hina before for Chemistry, and this is a completely different experience. It’s great!”