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I am a Purdue Instructor. How can I use Rhea in my class?

There are many ways to use Rhea as part of a course. Here are a few ideas:

  • Rhea can be used to post homework. This allows students to peer review each other's work and learn from each other. Think of all the trees we can save that way!
  • Student teams can work together to type lecture notes. They can then use these notes as a skeleton on which to add comments, questions, relevant links, etc.
  • Students can write pages that summarize the material they learned "in their own words".
  • Individual students can write pages summarizing relevant background material.
  • Individual students can write pages of practice exercises for certain computations/concepts along with their answers. The rest of the class can then use the discussion page to point out mistakes, ask questions, etc.
  • Student teams or individual students can type course related questions/comments. For example, they may have two solutions with two different answers for a given homework problem, and want to know which one is correct, or they may get to a different answer that what is given in the solutions and may want to know if their answer is correct. Ways to "go from my answer to the books answer" can be shared. Click here for an example.
  • A formal double-blind peer review system can be set up through Rhea. This is particularly useful in project-based courses and graduate courses.
  • Students can write pages that compare different solutions to a problem.
  • Students can list and discuss some "common mistakes" to a given type of problem. See for example here.
  • Students can propose numerical methods (e.g. Matlab code) to check their answers. You would be surprised what kind of tricks they can come up with, as this for example.
  • Students can share code and datasets.
  • Students can build a glossary of useful terms for the course.
  • Students can build a table of useful formulas (e.g., here) or share mathematical "tricks" (e.g., here or here).
  • Students can work in groups to write solutions of the midterm after the midterm has been graded and handed back.
  • Before a midterm, students can post their solution to some old exam, and the instructor can grade these solutions for everybody's benefit. Click here for an example.
  • When handing back a midterm containing a question that was not successfully answered by the majority of the students, ask the students to post their solutions and discuss them, then ask that question again in a quiz or on the final exam.
  • Invite your own students to suggest new ways to use Rhea in your classroom.

Why should I use Rhea instead of my own wiki?

There are many reasons. Here are a few.

  • Because Rhea is student-driven, it has features that the students want but standard wikis often do not have. For example, one can type equations in latex.
  • Rhea is developed by a team of Purdue students: by using Rhea, you are supporting their project and encouraging them to continue.
  • Learning to use a new online resource takes time; using the same online learning tool in every class is more efficient.
  • Content contributed to Rhea benefits the whole Purdue population, instead of just one class for one semester. This enables students to learn from (and participate in!) every classe featured in Rhea. It also enables instructors to know what is happening in other classes.
  • Rhea's content is kept from semester to semester, so one will always be able to go back and browse through a given course material, or even contribute to it at some future time.
  • Course related contributions are the building blocks of this rich repository of knowledge that constitutes Rhea: without them, there is no Rhea.

Should I reward the students?

Rewarding the students with either bonus points or homework points is a good way to stimulate contributions and make Rhea quickly gain momentum in your class. But whether or not this is necessary is debatable.

Alumni Liaison

Correspondence Chess Grandmaster and Purdue Alumni

Prof. Dan Fleetwood