Instructors agree that teaching is a stressful job, especially at the university level. In addition to delivering lectures, professors must develop supporting documents and homework, as well as mark assignments and exams. When it comes to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses, this load is enhanced by the complexity of course materials. Many universities find that powerful solutions like Möbius can be invaluable in assisting instructors with these tasks. At the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool Rotterdam), lecturer Martine van der Post and her colleagues use Möbius to ease the burden on instructors. Möbius’ automatic marking feature relieves stress and frees up time that teachers can spend developing new course materials and working with students.
Van der Post began working at the Hogeschool Rotterdam in the Process Engineering department, following a career in business. Her teaching covers many engineering specialties, including mechanics, statics, pumps, turbines, thermodynamics, and process equipment design. Van der Post recalled noticing at the end of one school year when stressed with a lot of work left to correct, a colleague who was extremely calm. “She was responsible for all education in the department and seemed so relaxed, having already marked at least three of her exams,” she explained. “After a week of stressing out, I finally asked her how she got it all done so quickly and she told me the answer was Möbius!”
Her colleague set up an account for van der Post and gave her a brief tutorial. She was amazed at how easy Möbius was to learn and use, and immediately decided she wanted to move her assignments and exams to the platform. Over a two-week break from school, she created assignments and tests for the Basics of Mathematics, her first course to use Möbius. “I learned so much about how to use Möbius; how to calculate the right answer, how to make an exercise look nice and so on,” she said. “Initially we were able to test it on some students as homework, which gave me valuable feedback and the opportunity to refine the exercises.”
Throughout the school year, van der Post used Möbius’ assessment exercises as homework for students. Having discovered how powerful a platform Möbius is for learning, she also designed and created the final exam in the platform itself. In a short time, the faculty started noticing improvements, van der Post said. “We went from a passing rate of 20% for the first trial, to more than 85% when it was fully implemented as a homework requirement,” she said. “There was a very strong relation between homework effort and exam results, which made me very excited about Möbius. Even students who were initially resistant to using Möbius adapted to it quickly when they saw how much better their grades were.”
For van der Post, the most beneficial aspect of Möbius is the randomization feature, which allows for the algorithmic generation of questions. Students receive different variations on the same question to provide continuous opportunities for practice, and to minimize cheating on assignments. The Möbius platform has been well received in her classes due to its accessibility and ease of use to practice a variety of materials as often as students need to.
Over time, van der Post began building more courses into Möbius. She also passed her passion for the platform on to her colleagues. The Hogeschool Rotterdam is now administering courses in Mechanics, Statistics, Thermodynamics and Controls Engineering using Möbius. The goal is to eventually move all homework assignments and to use the full functionality of the platform to build full courses. “We would like to automate all of the homework and then, in the next phase, automate all testing, both formative and summative,” she said. “I’ve started to experiment with the platform, which has given me the opportunity to practice blended learning. We are excited for the possibilities!”