Robust Feedback within English Courseware

Hawkes Learning’s Practice mode gives students ample feedback when they answer questions incorrectly. Several different tutorial options are available to students, including Explain Error, which provides error-specific feedback immediately when the mistake is made; Hint, which gives students a clue as to how they can answer the question correctly if they’re still struggling; and Solution, which states the correct answer.

Students can then try a similar question in order to test their knowledge. Once they feel comfortable with the material in Practice, students move on to the Certify mode, which does not provide learning aids in order to hold students accountable for their learning.

Check out two examples of the robust feedback provided in Practice below:

In Foundations of English‘s Chapter 4: Grammar and Mechanics, the courseware asks the following:

Does the following sentence use pronoun-antecedent agreement? Select the best answer.

Damien is running for class president, and his sister is helping them with the campaign.

The two choices are the following:
  • Yes, this sentence uses pronoun-antecedent agreement.
  • No, this sentence does not use pronoun-antecedent agreement.

If students select the first answer, the courseware provides this feedback:

Explain Error

Your Answer: Yes, this sentence uses pronoun-antecedent agreement.

You were asked to determine if the following sentence uses pronoun-antecedent agreement:

Damien is running for class president, and his sister is helping them with the campaign.

 

Your answer is incorrect because the pronoun is plural and neutral, but the antecedent is singular and male.

For a hint to solve this problem, select Hint.

Hint

You were asked to determine if the following sentence uses pronoun-antecedent agreement:

Damien is running for class president, and his sister is helping them with the campaign.

 

Remember, for a pronoun and its antecedent to agree, they must have the same gender and number. The gender of words can be female, male, or neutral. The number is either singular or plural.

If an antecedent is neutral and refers to a person or animal, it can be used with a male or female pronoun based on the other information in the sentence. However, inanimate objects do not have gender, so they are always renamed with neutral pronouns.

Take a look at the following sentence that includes both a pronoun and its antecedent:

Jennifer always makes the dessert because she is the best baker.

The pronoun she agrees with its antecedent Jennifer (the noun it renames). Both words are singular in number and female in gender. This is what you look for when checking for pronoun-antecedent agreement.

 

Solution

You were asked to determine if the following sentence uses pronoun-antecedent agreement:

Damien is running for class president, and his sister is helping them with the campaign.

The following answer is correct:

No, this sentence does not use pronoun-antecedent agreement.

The pronoun them is plural and neutral, but the antecedent Damien is singular and male.


In Foundations of English‘s Chapter 5: Style, the courseware asks the following:

Read the following passage.

People from all across the country enter the contest, and they all want their own shot at fame. Fame is fleeting, but these people do not care. They all believe they will be “the next big thing.” Even when disappointment comes crashing down on them, they still struggle and claw their way back up. Being content is not something humans are good at.
 
 
Which sentences do not use coordination to join clauses? Select all that apply.

Click on a word or word group to make a selection. To undo, click on the selection again. Alternatively use the Tab and spacebar to select or deselect the word or word group.

Students receive error-specific feedback when they select the following sentence from the passage: Even when disappointment comes crashing down on them, they still struggle and claw their way back up.

Use this grammar diagnostic test to target which lessons students must master.

Customize the way students learn.

Save class time and identify individual areas of weakness for remediation with Hawkes Learning’s free grammar diagnostic test! Click through a demonstration of the test at your own pace.

This 50-question assessment identifies areas of proficiency and specific knowledge gaps for individual students. A customized curriculum is developed for each student to strengthen their grammar skills and eliminate those errors from their writing.

A report shows student progress in both a pie chart and bar graph. The part of the graphs in green represents the number of correct answers, while pink represents the number of incorrect answers. The bar graph breaks down each lesson number.

The tailored learning path through the grammar curriculum provides students the opportunity to learn, practice, and then master each topic. Let Hawkes assist you in ensuring these skills become second nature for your students, helping them become more effective communicators of their ideas.

While diagnostic tests are pre-created to save you time for both Hawkes Learning’s Foundations of English and English Composition courses, you can also customize either by removing or adding questions based on your own lesson objectives.

As you click through the demonstration here, you’ll see how students access their assessment, answer questions, and receive a performance breakdown of each topic covered in the test.


Want to see more? Contact your Hawkes courseware specialist at 1-800-426-9538 or sales@hawkeslearning.com today!

Instructor advice on motivating students

Having trouble motivating your students to stay active and engaged in class? We understand that some days, it can be a struggle. Current and former instructors here at Hawkes Learning have provided advice on how to keep students motivated. Check it out below, then let us know what advice YOU have!

In-class

  • Consider announcing a 3-point bonus question before your first test, and make it a scavenger hunt. Ask for three things (one point each): 1. What is written on your office door? (This encourages students to find your office.) 2. What is one name of a tutor in the tutoring lab? (This encourages them to find the tutoring lab.) 3. What are the hours for the tutoring lab? (This knowledge helps them if they need to schedule an appointment.)
  • Take attendance. Even if attendance isn’t part of the grade, it shows students that you’re aware whether or not they come to class and participate.
  • Get students to speak. A few will always take the lead and constantly ask questions, while some will never open their mouths. Directly ask those students a question. Hearing their voice and knowing it’s being heard has a positive effect and can lead them to speak up without being prompted later on.

Online

  • Post discussions and message boards. Since you can’t talk face-to-face, the next best thing is to utilize these communications threads.
  • Remind students that they never stop learning because technology changes so often. Use the online environment to your advantage by showing students new communications tools and apps that they can adapt to and learn from.
  • Hold virtual office hours for students who have questions or need a little extra help.

Math

  • Have a large class? Consider the “shared birthday” problem. A class of 30 students has over a 70% chance of having at least one shared birthday among them. A class of 40 students has almost 90%. If you happen to have one or more shared birthdays in the class, they never forget it and it gets them interested from the start.
  • Collect noninvasive data from your class to use throughout the semester. Asking at the beginning of the term for information like students’ majors, favorite sport, and number of siblings gives you data to incorporate in your lessons that will keep students interested.
  • Math courses have historically had a stigma for math anxiety for some students. Be reassuring and encouraging to your students, and provide opportunities for success that will help supply confidence and a positive momentum through the course.

English

  • Give students options! Anytime students can decide on an element of their learning, they get more invested in the outcome. Let them choose a project partner, reading selection, or project option.
  • Allow students to revise and resubmit assignments based on your feedback to improve their grades and strengthen their learning.
  • Put students in the role of instructor. Assign them a reading passage that they are responsible for teaching to part or all of the class. Teaching is the best way to learn a new concept!

Have more tips? We’d love to hear them! Comment below with your tried and true tips on keeping students motivated and engaged.

Additional Questions in Foundations of English Composition

New questions are available in the curriculum for Foundations of English. We’ve expanded the question bank so that you can assign more material related to reading skills and grammar & mechanics. Check out which questions are new below, then assign them using the Assignment Builder in your Hawkes Grade Book!

Lesson Question Serial No.
2.1 11
12
13
14
15
2.2 11
12
13
14
15
2.3 11
12
13
14
15
4.3 21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
4.6 15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
4.7 18
19
20
4.8 12
13
14
15
16
4.12 19
20
5.6 30

Additional Questions in English Composition

New questions are available in the curriculum for English Composition. We’ve expanded the question bank so that you can assign more material related to different parts of the essay, critical reading & writing skills, and more. Check out which questions are new below, then assign them using the Assignment Builder in your Hawkes Grade Book!

Lesson Question Serial No.
1.1 12
13
14
15
1.2 11
12
13
14
15
1.3 11
12
13
14
15
1.4 11
12
13
14
15
1.5 11
12
13
1.6 11
12
13
14
15
1.7 11
12
13
14
15
1.8 11
12
13
14
15
1.9 14
15
2.1 11
12
13
14
15
2.2 11
12
13
14
15
2.3 11
12
13
14
15
2.4 11
12
13
14
15
3.1 11
12
13
14
15
3.2 11
12
13
14
15
3.3 13
14
15
3.4 11
12
13
14
15
3.5 11
12
13
14
15
3.6 11
12
13
14
15
4.1 11
12
13
14
15
4.2 11
12
13
14
15
4.3 11
12
13
14
15
4.4 11
12
13
14
15
4.5 11
12
13
14
15
4.6 11
12
13
14
15
5.1 11
12
13
14
15
5.2 13
14
15
5.3 11
12
13
14
15
5.4 6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
5.5 11
12
13
14
15
5.6 11
12
13
14
15
5.7 11
12
13
14
15
5.8 11
12
13
14
15
5.9 11
12
13
14
15
5.10 11
12
13
14
15
6.1 6
7
8
9
10
6.2 6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
6.3 11
12
13
14
15
6.4 11
12
13
14
15
6.5 6
7
8
9
10
6.6 11
12
13
14
15
6.7 11
12
13
14
15
6.8 6
7
8
9
10
7.1 9
10

Shake things up in your next English class

Engaging students in your English class can get tricky, especially if reading and writing intimidate or overwhelm them. Some students may think they’re just not good writers, and they feel there’s little they can do to improve. Others may assume that they don’t need the skills they learn in English because their field of study is STEM-based. Still others may be so focused on getting a job after graduation that they feel disengaged from the academic life.

How do you break out of the box when it comes to teaching your English course in order to motivate all students to learn? Below are a few ideas to incorporate into your curriculum. Please let us know in the comments other fun projects that have achieved success in your class!

1. Get students engaged with their community. 

One project that gets students more involved with their writing than a traditional research paper or persuasive argument is one that connects students with a local nonprofit organization or charity. Before the term starts, reach out to local community-serving organizations to see if they’d allow students to visit and get involved by researching grants, interviewing employees and volunteers, and helping to apply to grants. You can also provide a list of local institutions and let students choose one to research and create several reports. For example, instructor Jim Wilcox did just that and had students visit the organizations and do their research before they wrote an objective report, an interview, an evaluation essay, an investigative report, and a letter to the editor of a local newspaper.

These kinds of projects get students thinking about how writing can help others and give students a sense of purpose through their work. Plus, these reports and evaluations are something that they’ll continue to create later on in life for other topics and organizations.

2. Have your class explore composition through media other than writing. (Then get them to write about it.)

Multimodal projects help students get a little more creative with their composition processes, especially those who aren’t comfortable with writing traditional academic papers. Giving them the freedom to explore a topic through a different medium—anything from creating a photo essay to shooting a short film to building a website—might just open up their imaginations and spark more creativity than they expected a school project could do.

Once students create their musical composition, video, dance piece, or project in a medium of their choosing, they can exercise their writing skills by writing a reflection of the process, why they decided on the kind of project they created, and the lessons learned along the way. Don’t be surprised if the written reflections mention how much students prefer this kind of project over others!

3. Test students’ abilities to distinguish fake websites from real ones.

“Fake news” seems to be a ubiquitous term these days. Do students understand how to distinguish true news articles and trustworthy sources from those that are false and misleading?

Center activities around analyzing arguments for their truth and effectiveness, as well as understanding what makes a source credible. On EasyBib’s blog, their in-house librarian Michele Kirschenbaum posted seven fake websites to share with students in order to test how well they evaluate a website’s credentials. You might want to give students these websites to look up, along with a few real sites, for a fun in-class activity that asks them to analyze the wording, design, links, and other elements of the websites to determine their authenticity. They can use these analytical skills next time their friend or family member shares a web article from a less-than-credible source.

4. Ask them to create a soundtrack to what they’re reading.

Engage students with the reading material by having them create a music playlist that matches the tone and emotions of the book or passage. Free music streaming services like Spotify allow easy access to millions of songs, and students can take advantage of these to build their own soundtracks to their readings. Doing so helps them pay more attention to the tone of the piece and become more aware of rising tension, foreshadowing, and more. They’ll begin to empathize more with the characters and identify with what they’re reading on a deeper level.

5. Hold a good old-fashioned debate on a current topic.

Anyone who reads the comments on any online post might feel like reasoning and critical thinking are in short supply these days. People seem to be arguing at each other and not making progress instead of discussing something and learning from one another. While the latter can’t happen all the time because we don’t live in a perfect world, we can still make it happen more frequently than it does!

On Inside Higher Ed’s website, John Duffy, an associate professor of English and the O’Malley Director of the University Writing Program at the University of Notre Dame, asserts that first-year writing programs offer a defense against our current post-truth culture by encouraging students to engage in fact-based discourse. Holding a debate in class gets students to think more critically about their opinions and gives them experience in expressing them through persuasive tactics and research. Maybe even award extra credit to students who take the time to research the opposing side of the argument and those who bring in quality news sources to back up their claims. You’ll be sure that they’ll use these skills throughout the rest of their lives.


What are some other projects that bring a unique spin to English and connect the subject to life post-graduation? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!