Use Show My Work Effectively

Enabling Show My Work can help you teach better:

  • You can use it to encourage students to focus not just on getting the correct answer, but on the methodology used.
  • You can use it to help students practice critical or creative thinking.
  • You can use it to identify common mistakes being made by your students, so you can provide additional instruction.
  • You can use it to identify students who might benefit from additional help.
  • You can use it as a diagnostic tool with a pre-test to gauge understanding of fundamental concepts at the beginning of a course.
  • You can use it to help detect or deter cheating.

For Show My Work to be effective, your students must know that their work will — or at least might — be reviewed, with consequences for their grade. But, checking your students' work takes time.

To maximize the value of your time spent grading Show My Work answers, you might want to consider one of the following approaches. Not all of these approaches will work for every instructor or every class; you might have to experiment at first to find out what works best for you.

Spot-Checking Show My Work
Especially when you have limited time to grade Show My Work answers, spot-checking can be a time-effective way to keep students motivated to do their best. If warranted, this might be accompanied by a class announcement that students are not showing their work completely or in sufficient detail.
Using Teaching Assistants to Grade Show My Work
Teaching assistants can often grade Show My Work answers effectively. Be sure to add them to your course.
If you have multiple teaching assistants, consider having each TA grade all students' Show My Work answers for a single question; this is often easier and faster than grading different questions.
Grading Show My Work on Demand
You might want to let your students know that you will grade Show My Work answers for specific students by request; when a student asks you to grade a Show My Work answer, you can award credit for completing Show My Work or provide corrective feedback to the student. This approach can be helpful to students who are making an effort to learn the material.
Usually, you should set Show My Work to Optional when grading Show My Work on demand. This avoids grade inflation or penalties for students who do not choose to show their work, but lets you award points at your discretion when students do show their work.
Tip You can also use this approach to award credit in the rare event that a student's answer was mistakenly scored incorrect by WebAssign. Be sure to report the question error to WebAssign.
"Pre-Grading" Show My Work
If you have the time to do so, you can comment on your students' Show My Work answers and assign tentative scores before the due date. Then, you can assign final scores and revise your comments after the due date. You can use this approach to give your students both the motivation and the opportunity to do better work. You might want to use this approach for distance-learning classes or when introducing new material.
Note If you grade a Show My Work answer before the due date, your student can submit another answer. When this happens, your comments and score for the previous answer are discarded. The student again receives either full credit or no credit, depending on whether the Show My Work question part is required or optional. Only your uploaded files continue to be shown.

Depending on the subject matter and on your approach to grading Show My Work, do not enable Show My Work for more questions on your assignment than you are able to grade.

If you enable Show My Work for a long multi-part question, your students might not understand what work they are expected to show; consider providing some additional instructions to the assignment in this case.