To wrap up this week’s posts on on homework systems, I thought I would try to create something a bit more concrete than my previous ramblings (What is a homework system?, and Early thoughts on my new open homework systems project).
I want to try to define what a homework system is, and what an open homework system is. I’d really love your feedback on these definitions as this is still very much thinking in the open kind of stuff.
Ok, here goes.
What are Homework Systems?
Homework systems are a class of education technology that supports student practice, self-reflection, and self-assessment in order to reinforce concepts they have learned in class. Homework systems may also be known as adaptive learning platforms, personalized learning platforms, or digital tutoring systems, and contain interactive elements, self-quizzes, prompts for student reflection, simulations, and offer hints and suggestions. Homework systems may also include adaptive engines that can respond to learners as they work their way through problem sets and assess their performance as the work through the sets, changing and adapting new questions based on a students input. While a homework system can be a stand-alone application installed on a single computer or mobile device for a single user, they are more commonly developed and deployed as web-enabled, network applications.
Homework systems can be seen as a compliment technology to Learning Management Systems, Digital Courseware, and Open Textbook platforms, although LMS, Digital Courseware and Open Textbook platforms are not required to use a Homework System.
Pedagogical concepts associated with homework systems can include: spaced repetition, scaffolding, rapid feedback, and mastery learning.
What is an Open Homework System?
An open homework system is a homework system that is released with an open source licence that allows anyone to host their own instance of the system, and to modify and/or reuse the application with no software licensing fees.
Open homework systems are designed to provide low or no cost access for students, and provide technical capabilities within it to support open educational practices, through the incorporation of open educational resources and use of open licenses. They should also include collaborative features that provide instructors the ability to collaboratively create and share problem sets with each other, and include features & functions that give students the ability to create or co-create their own problem sets and/or self-directed personal pathways for review and reflection, and share those with other students.
(note: this was edited on Oct 1/2019 to incorporate a suggestion from Will Engle on the project Advisory Group to include a specific mention of providing no cost access for students)
Is this useful in helping to define what a homework system is? I am especially looking for some feedback on this point:
Homework Systems may also be known as adaptive learning platforms, personalized learning platforms, or digital tutoring systems.
Is this a view that others in the community share, that adaptive learning and personalized learning platforms fit under a classification of homework systems? Or is that reversed and homework systems should fit under personalized/adaptive learning platforms? Am I conflating homework systems with personalized and adaptive learning platforms? And is a digital/virtual tutor a homework system in your view?
I’d very much appreciate your thoughts on this.