31 January 2010

WebAssign

This is war. I have asked WebAssign to refund everyone. My plan is to no longer use it. We will figure something else out. Here is the email I sent them:



“I am afraid to say that I think I will have to both stop using WebAssign and refrain from recommending it (as I have so often done in the past).   Here is the problem.

Last semester, I used WebAssign.  Sometime into the course, all my students were given refunds and had to re-purchase webassign.  The reason was that I was using Matter and Interactions and had not "declared" this as my textbook.  From my end, I had created the course through BlackBoard and it never gave me an option to choose a text.  In the past, I had some problems linking blackboard and webassign, so I try to stick with this method of creating a course.  My students were frustrated, but I guess it wasn't too big of a deal.  I guess this was my fault (or blackboards) - I had just been duplicating my assignments from the last time I taught Matter and Interactions.

This semester, a similar thing happened - with one big difference.  Now my students are being asked to pay more.  Why?  I have no idea.  I do know that this is unacceptable.  If webassign has to go up in price before the course, that is one thing.  Increasing what they pay after they have already started using it is kind of like blackmail.  From a different view point (the student's) I would say this is similar to syllabus that says the test is on Feb 4 and then they come to class on Feb 2 and I give a test.  You can't really change the rules of the game in the middle of the class.

I told my students to not pay for webassign again.  I would like formally ask that the students that did pay the increased price get a refund and I will stop using webassign for this semester.  I am sorry that I will not be using webassign anymore, it was fun while it lasted.  I guess I will just go to paper homework.

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Rhett Allain, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Physics
Department of Chemistry and Physics
Southeastern Louisiana University
rallain@selu.edu
http://scienceblogs.com/dotphysics