North Texas Daily

Former professor finds Sapling software enhances learning

Former professor finds Sapling software enhances learning

January 15
21:22 2013

Emily Bentley / Staff Writer

As technology advances in all areas from warfare to entertainment, it is also making gains in the world of education. Students are increasingly finding their professors are assigning online homework as opposed to the traditional paper turn-in method.

Recently, the Sapling Learning software has been gaining attention as a top online learning product as well as demonstrating to be more effective than handwritten assignments, especially when it comes to the sciences said retired UNT chemistry professor Diana Mason.

Mason, has researched six different online programs for the sciences and consistently found that Sapling ranked in the top three for students learning and retaining course information, scoring high on exams and completing assignments.

“After trying out different programs, looking at student’s feedback and progress I found that Sapling was consistently good,” Mason said. “On the final exam, I asked the question of whether or not e-homework should be used again. Of the 399 students who were not exempt and had been using Sapling, 79 percent said that they wanted to.”

Post-graduate student Jana Lampe, is currently pursuing her second bachelor’s degree at UNT and said Sapling’s 3-D technology helped her with science classes.

“One of the great things about Sapling when it came to my organic chemistry class was it really helped our study of molecules,” she said. “It gave us images of the molecules in 3-D, which helped a lot. It’s very handy.”

Lampe said she’s had classes that featured online and paper turn-in methods.

“The good thing about online courses is you get instant feedback on your work and you have multiple times to get it right,” she said.

However, there are some concerns with online work such as Internet glitches.

“If you have access to good Internet, it’s fine,” pre-biology junior Elise Raley said. “At our apartment, the Internet will sometimes just go out. During times like this, it would be a lot easier to just have to keep track of a paper.”

Despite a number of benefits in favor of Sapling, Mason was the only professor to use online work in her course.

“For a subject that is built on change, chemists are still the least apt to change how they teach,” she said. “Online learning is here to stay. It’s not going anywhere.”

Below is a video Forensics post-baccalaureate student Erin Hart about the Sapling software.

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