Friday, March 23, 2012

Pearson Longman Internet Homework

My uni is big on "blended learning," meaning that the admin expect us to allocate at least 20% of our final grades to Internet Homework that the students are required to sign up for.  Pearson Longman has this online homework system that they use for a wide range of books, including North Star, Top Notch (what I use), Cutting Edge and Speakout (+many more).  If your program or uni is considering using it, here are the things I like and don't like:

I don't like:

1. It only runs on IE and Safari.  Most people I know use Google Chrome or Firefox.

2. It's buggy.  Like full of bugs.  A lot of them.  Tons.  I can't emphasize this enough.  Randomly, the website will be down.  Students will fill in all the right answers and it marks them all as wrong.  But only for some students.  Not all.

3. It requires a lot of downloads (Java/Flash 8/Shockwave 7/Adobe).  I personally don't like downloading random stuff onto my computer and I'm not sure students like it either.  Plus, not all computers in places like the library computer lab at a uni have this stuff on them and many of them won't allow random people to download stuff.

4. Support/training is not fabulous (in Korea at least).  I learned how to use the system for the fabulous Sam Lee, who was murdered in Indonesia a few months ago.  The newbies at my uni "learned" from some engineer guy who was not fabulous to say the least.  Basically, Sam Lee was the only one in Korea who knew the system and how to train people on it and Pearson Longman had no one to replace him with.  I'm no expert on the system, but I could have done a better job of training a newbie.  Maybe this situation will improve in the future.

5. This is most definitely my uni's fault, but the Dormitory Wi-Fi network won't allow access to the website.

6. It's complicated for the students to sign up.  Like really complicated.  And there are is no Korean language option for sign-up.  I think it's only English (and perhaps Spanish).  Most of the teachers at my uni end up wasting an entire class (out of a 16 week semester) helping the students sign-up.  Contrast this to Twitter (that I require my students to sign-up for) where I told them to pull out their Smartphones in class, download the app and sign-up.  It took about 10 minutes.  

Things I like:

1. It's easy for the teacher once you get over the steep learning curve.  I can set up my semester's homework for 2 levels in about 1 hour.  Then, at the end, I can check 8 or 9 classes of student grades and enter them into my spreadsheet in about 30 minutes.


Cristeen said...
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Jackie Bolen said...

Just heard from one of my coworkers who visited the tech-help guy. He knows about the bugs and says they've known about them for years, but haven't fixed them for some unknown reason. Very uncool.