How to view questions students struggle with and reply with feedback

Did you know that your students can send you a screenshot of a problem they are struggling with in the Practice mode through our Send to Instructor tool?

This tool gives you the ability to see exactly what question students need help with and provide instruction or hints to help them solve the problem. If you don’t already have this enabled, you can do so under Tools Tab -> Display Options:

An arrow points to a check box next to the words

If you’re looking for an interactive way to respond and show students a worked-out solution to the question, here are some apps for iPads and other Mac products that instructors have shared with us on how they accomplish this!

Notability ($7.99)

The Notability app.

ZoomNotes Lite (Free)

 The ZoomNotes Lite app

Mental Note Lite (Free)

The Mental Note Lite app.

To respond using one of the above apps, open the email from the Hawkes messaging system on your iPad/tablet or phone and take a screenshot of the question. Each app gives you the ability to choose the photos from your photo gallery that you’d like to use.

Just like using a whiteboard, you are able to work out the problem and show students the step-by-step breakdown of the work! When you’re finished, you can send your worked-out solution by email. (ZoomNotes Lite even has graph paper!)

A handwritten equation worked out on the screen.

Don’t have a Mac product? No problem! Dr. Stephan Kinholt from Green River College has shared how he sends feedback to students using his PC in the video he created below:

You beta believe Foundations of English is no longer in beta!

Last year, we were thrilled to announce the beta release of our first English course, Foundations of English. Now, we’re even more excited to announce that it’s no longer in its beta version!

Ready for the fall term, this courseware has even more questions, images, diverse examples, and interactive exercises to help students engage with your learning goals.

What have we added? We now have over 100 interactive examples so students have a more hands-on approach to their learning — check out one below!

The question example is called On Your Own, and the directions state the following: Use the following table to think about significant experiences in your own life. In the "Moment" column, write short descriptions of personal experiences or moments. In the "Outcome" column, write about how your life or someone else's was changed by that experience. Below the directions is a table with two rows: the first is labeled Moment with space below to type in, and the second is titled Outcome with space below to write in. Below the table is a button that says Print Table.

We have a wider range of question types as well, such as click-to-select questions. Instead of only having multiple choice questions to assign, you can mix things up in your curriculum by adding more of what you see below in this example:

Instructions read: Click to select. Read the paragraph below and click on the sentence that contains the climactic point. Below that are two paragraphs. First paragraph: I walked through the cold, crowded streets, hands shoved in my pockets, hoping to make it home before dark. Strangers passed by, shoving, shoving, but never looking me in the eye. I turned right on Helm Street, and was greeted with an angry specimen of a man. His frustration over our near-collision didn't seem to match the crime itself. I bumbled a pathetic apology and picked up the pace to my apartment. Almost there, almost there. Almost avoid... Second paragraph reads: And then, with one quick turn, I'm hit with the image crowding my nightmares: my grim, fading face staring back at me in the mirror, mercilessly exposing my sickness and decay through the store windows. It's unavoidable, I realize, as I throw myself down on the couch and prepare for the evening's practiced routine of medication and loneliness. Directions below that paragraph state the following: Click a sentence to highlight, then check your answer. Below is a button that says Check me.

Plus, we have a whole new lesson! That’s right—we’ve created Lesson 2.4: “Deconstructing Topics, Ideas, and Details” based on contributors’ feedback this past year. This lesson breaks down the components of a paragraph to provide students with direction as they practice reading on their own.

Speaking of contributors’ feedback, we compiled it all and let it guide our restructuring of the table of contents. We reordered a few lessons and changed the wording of some from the beta version. Check out the full release’s table of contents for Foundations of English below:

Chapter 1: Study Skills
1.1 Understanding Different Learning Styles
1.2 Determining Your Personal Learning Styles
1.3 Understanding and Reducing Stress
1.4 Keeping Yourself Organized
1.5 Managing Your Time Effectively
1.6 Taking Notes and Annotating Texts
1.7 Using Effective Study Strategies
1.8 Reducing Test Anxiety
1.9 Taking Advantage of Campus Resources
Chapter 2: Reading Skills
2.1 Preparing Yourself to Read
2.2 Using Visual Clues
2.3 Reading Actively and Purposefully
2.4 Deconstructing Topics, Ideas, and Details
2.5 Identifying Organizational Patterns
2.6 Using Context for Unfamiliar Words or Phrases
2.7 Using Word Parts for Unfamiliar Words
2.8 Making Inferences About a Text
2.9 Recognizing Types of Main Ideas and Evidence
Chapter 3: Critical Thinking
3.1 Identifying Purpose and Tone
3.2 Analyzing Argumentation Strategies
3.3 Identifying Bias
3.4 Evaluating Evidence
3.5 Understanding the Basics of Logic
3.6 Recognizing Logical Fallacies
3.7 Analyzing and Evaluating Visuals
Chapter 4: Grammar and Mechanics
4.1 Understanding Nouns
4.2 Understanding Pronouns
4.3 Understanding Verbs
4.4 Understanding Adjectives and Adverbs
4.5 Understanding Prepositions
4.6 Understanding Conjunctions and Interjections
4.7 Identifying the Characteristics of Sentences
4.8 Identifying Common Sentence Errors
4.9 Using Consistent Subjects and Verbs
4.10 Using Consistent Pronouns and Antecedents
4.11 Using Correct Pronoun Reference and Case
4.12 Using Commas
4.13 Using Semicolons and Colons
4.14 Using Apostrophes
4.15 Using Quotation Marks, Parentheses, and Brackets
4.16 Using Ellipses, Hyphens, and Dashes
4.17 Using Capitalization and Italics
4.18 Using Abbreviations and Numbers
4.19 Using Basic Spelling Rules
4.20 Spelling Commonly Confused Words
4.21 Proofreading Sentences for Grammar
Chapter 5: Style
5.1 Determining a Writing Style
5.2 Using an Appropriate Tone
5.3 Maintaining Consistency in Tense and Person
5.4 Correcting Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers
5.5 Using Word and Sentence Variety
5.6 Using Parallelism, Coordination, and Subordination
5.7 Using Active and Passive Voice
5.8 Emphasizing Words or Phrases
5.9 Choosing Clear, Concise, and Vivid Words
5.10 Using Inclusive Language
5.11 Proofreading Sentences for Style
Chapter 6: Writing Paragraphs
6.1 The Writing Process for Paragraphs
6.2 Choosing a Topic and Scope for a Paragraph
6.3 Writing a Topic Sentence
6.4 Choosing an Organizational Pattern
6.5 Drafting a Paragraph
6.6 Revising and Editing a Paragraph
6.7 Submitting a Paragraph
Chapter 7: Writing Longer Texts
7.1 Preparing to Write a Longer Text
7.2 Understanding Genre and Purpose
7.3 Choosing a Topic and Scope for a Longer Text
7.4 Writing a Thesis or Purpose Statement
7.5 Organizing and Outlining a Longer Paper
7.6 Writing with Technology
7.7 Writing a First Draft
7.8 Using Paragraphs Effectively
7.9 Revising a Longer Text
7.10 Participating in Peer Review
7.11 Submitting a Longer Text
Chapter 8: Research
8.1 Researching and Writing Responsibly
8.2 Making a Research Plan
8.3 Organizing the Research Process
8.4 Identifying Types of Sources
8.5 Evaluating the Credibility of Sources
8.6 Applying MLA Styles and Formatting

Teaching this summer? Check out these 6 tips!

Many people view summer as the time to relax, have a cool drink by the pool, and catch up on all the fun reading you couldn’t get to during the semester. However, not everyone can indulge in vacation time over the summer, especially when you’re teaching during a summer session! Since this time is so different than the fall and spring terms, it’s sometimes hard to get into a rhythm and find exactly how you want to teach your shorter course. However, we found this list of tips from instructor Janet Mizrahi helpful in starting your summer session off to a success.

Some of her tips include:

  • Being honest with students about the workload
  • Creating daily activities that vary each time and keep students engaged
  • Grading quickly and efficiently so students (and you!) don’t fall behind

Check out her full list of tips here, and let us know what tips you have for teaching summer courses in the comments!


Mizrahi, Janet. “Tips for Teaching Summer Session.” BizComBuzz. BizComBuzz, 22 pril 2015. Web. 24 June 2016.

Online students can take advantage of their support services with these 4 tips

Not being on campus can make some things extra difficult for students. If you’re an online student who’s not sure how to get the answers to questions about admissions, future courses, and other necessary items, take a look at Bradley Fuster’s tips on using your support services!

In his U.S. News article, Fuster points out 4 things online students can do as soon as they have questions:

  1. Gather the information all in one place. Most departments and offices have their own email addresses and phone numbers, so take the time to write down this information and the hours of operation.
  2. Record specific information of the people you’ve contacted or need to contact. Get the names and contact information of the people you’ve called to help you. When you find out whom you need to contact for further information, take down their information and best times to call. Fuster also recommends you “document your service need by sending an email from your university email account following your phone conversation” (U.S. News).
  3. Leave voicemails. If you call during an office’s busy hours and they can’t pick up, don’t hang up! Leave a voicemail with your name, contact information, and question so they can get back to you.
  4. Keep asking for help, and of course do it nicely! You sometimes might not get answers right away, so keep pushing until you do. 

Check out the fully explained tips from U.S. News here!


Fuster, Bradley. “4 Tips for Using Support Services as an Online Student.” U.S. News. U.S. News, 6 June 2016. Web. 7 June 2016.

Stimulating Statistics Simulations

Many concepts in statistics can be hard to grasp for students, especially if they get stuck on their homework after class with no one around to guide them. Sometimes they need a little more than just text to really understand the material. Now they can access key simulations in the instructional Learn mode of the Hawkes courseware for that extra help!

The Central Limit Theorem

Found in our Beginning Statistics Chapter 7.1, Discovering Statistics Chapter 9.1, and Discovering Business Statistics Chapter 8.1-8.2, the introduction to the Central Limit Theorem is essential to statistics students. There’s a lot to it, so we break down the setup and distribution in the simulation:

The Learn screens walk students through setting up the Central Limit Theorem simulation. They can change the setup and distribution.

Students can choose how many observations to simulate. They can also choose what kind of distribution:

  • Uniform
  • Exponential
  • Chi-square
  • Normal
  • Poisson
  • Bi-modal

The Learn screens walk students through setting up the Central Limit Theorem simulation.

Students can then run another simulation or select “Auto” for the simulation to continuously run.

The simulation can run automatically and in bursts. This image shows histograms for n=5, n=15, and n=30. It includes the histogram of the parent function.

Estimating Population Proportions

Want students to learn more about population proportions? We’ve got you covered in Beginning Statistics Chapter 8.4, Discovering Statistics Chapter 10.7-10.9, and Discovering Business Statistics Chapter 9.6-9.7. Included is a game in which students can draw sample sizes of 20, 50, or 100 and guess the population proportion.

This simulation asks students to draw a sample from the population before entering their guess using red and blue marbles. They can draw a sample size of 20, 50, or 100.

After students try the game, we keep track of the chosen sample size, population proportion, and their guesses.

This simulation then shows you the number of plays along with their sample size, population proportion, estimated proportion, error, squared error, and sample proportion.

This simulation makes understanding how to estimate population proportions easier by making it more of a hands-on activity!

Want to see more? Call us at 1-800-426-9538 to request access.

Study Shows Students who Attend Face-to-Face Classes Do Better than Online Students

[Originally published at the Center for Digital Education]

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California at Davis suggests students who attend face-to-face classes outperform students who take classes online.

The sample was taken from the 2008-09 through 2011-12 academic years and included about 440,000 students in the published study (Hughes).

The study’s co-author and assistant professor of education, Cassandra Hart, claims one reason for the findings may be the fact that students usually have to more actively reach out in online settings, and those signs may be hard to see right away by instructors. Students may have to motivate themselves more to complete the work in online courses.

Interesting findings also show the gap between the student populations increased during summer sessions, and students did more poorly in online courses that had a 15% smaller enrollment than the face-to-face counterpart classes.

Hart warns educators not to stop online courses, especially in light of the fact that more legislation is supporting online courses to provide a more affordable, flexible education for a larger population. More research needs to be done on the style, delivery, and results of online courses (Hughes).

Read this article at the Center for Digital Education.

Hughes, Jessica. “Students Who Attend Class Outperform Those Online, Study Says.” Center for Digital Higher Education. Center for Digital Higher Education, 7 May 2015. Web. 8 May 2015.