Aplia in the Washington Post
Greg Mankiw points to an article about economist Paul Romer and his interactive homework software Aplia in yesterday's Washington Post, written by Steven Pearlstein. I have used Aplia for the last several years in both economics and finance classes with great success. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Today, Aplia is used at more than 815 colleges by 170,000 students per term, with course offerings covering more than a dozen subjects (economics, finance, accounting, business law, statistics, taxation, philosophy, Aplia website here). A quarter of all students enrolled in college economics classes work with Aplia.
Students seemed to like Aplia's engaging and easy-to-use software, as well as the feedback. Professors liked Aplia even more. It allowed them to leverage the grade-grubbing instincts of today's college students to get them to do homework -- but without having to spend countless hours reading and correcting the assignments. They also got reports from Aplia identifying which students were having the most trouble with the material and which concepts were stumping the class as a whole.
For me, however, what's really exciting about Aplia is that it finally holds out the possibility of bringing to higher education the same productivity revolution that has lowered costs and improved quality in almost every other industry over the past two decades.
By relieving instructors of the considerable burden of reviewing homework assignments, the technology makes it possible for universities to require professors to teach more students, either by increasing class sizes or the number of classes they teach. More important, it frees instructors to spend more time preparing for class, working with individual students and even doing their own research.
Note: For those unfamiliar with Aplia:
Founded in 2000 by economist and Stanford professor Paul Romer, Aplia is an educational technology company dedicated to improving learning by increasing student effort and engagement.
For students, Aplia offers a way to stay on top of coursework with regularly scheduled homework assignments. Interactive tools and content further increase engagement and understanding.
Aplia is a homework management and course management system integrated into one with a digital text, current event news articles, and math tutorials. The problem sets are interactive, auto-graded, give immediate feedback, and are written in the same language as the book. What's more, all of Aplia's materials are predicated on getting students better prepared and more engaged in the subject matter.