Ever since we started using an online component with our textbook, I have had the dilemma of how do I show my students all the study options (opportunities) that are available to help them through my course (Biology 1010 – Introductory Biology for Non-majors). It would take an entire class to demonstrate all of the different materials available for them to use. Sadly, that’s time we really didn’t have. Out of concern for presenting a solid foundation for using LaunchPad, an assignment called “Learning About LaunchPad” was born. The assignment is somewhat like a scavenger hunt, asking the students to travel through all of the different components of LaunchPad and answer questions along the way. They are exposed to the calendar, announcements, the ebook, the animations, Learning Curve, flashcards, the homepage lay-out and more. By the time they finish the assignment, they know where and how to use all the various components LaunchPad has to offer. My colleague and I asked the students to enroll in LaunchPad before the first class and we offer extra credit if they come to class with the “Learning About LaunchPad” assignment completed. This past semester over 90% of my students handed me a completed assignment on the first day! We have even used the assignment to help a new colleague become familiar with all LP has to offer. Did the assignment assist students feeling comfortable with LP, in locating their assignments throughout the semester and using study tools they might otherwise not have tried? I thinkthey would all give you a resounding yes!
The assignment goes with the LaunchPad for Biology for a Changing World (Schuster,2e). I’ve posted the “Spring version” of our assignment. Feel free to modify it for your own courses. I hope you get the same positive results, we have experienced!