I am thrilled to introduce the upcoming release of the Expert TA corporate blog. Opening up this direct line of communication is the next step on our path to help committed physics professionals provide students with an excellent education.
Expert TA is an educational software provider that has been focused on introductory physics since our debut. Our company launched in 2009 and we took our online homework and tutorial system into the classroom in 2010. We have grown every semester since and have a strong following of users— dedicated high school teachers, teaching assistants, and college and university professors who appreciate our position that physics students deserve a better online homework system.
I wanted to share a little background on how our software and company came to be. I began work on Expert TA while pursuing my PhD in mechanical engineering; it became the focus of my research. I was teaching lecture sections of engineering statics and the course committee wanted to investigate an alternative to having graduate students grade homework by hand.
After investigating available homework systems, the committee identified two glaring shortcomings. First, the homework asked for only final numeric answers, antithetical to what students see on most instructors’ exams where they are asked to show their work. These homework systems provided no reinforcement of the problem solving process. Second, grading was “right vs wrong,” with no partial credit and no feedback for students who were incorrect, but on the right track.
Solving these two challenges was at the foundation of Expert TA and what helped us to gain our following. We have solved other challenges since and are taking on more; not all of these are just about software and technology. We are interested in sharing what we have learned along the way but especially interested in getting a conversation going with the community -- What challenges are you facing? Which new trends are working and which aren’t? How are student needs changing? We also hope to hear your thoughts about some of the ambitious things we are working on; some we know can be solved, and some we aren’t yet sure about.
At Expert TA, we are serious people, taking on serious challenges. I am lucky to have a team of technologists and educators that care as much as I do about helping instructors teach and students learn.
In this blog you will hear from me, the Expert TA team, industry thought leaders and educators from across the spectrum of Physics classrooms. I hope we also hear from you, so please give us your feedback .
Jeremy Morton, PhD
CEO and Founder, Expert TA
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