I am trying something new this semester in my Calculus classes. I currently have over 400 students, and there is no way I can find the time to grade and give constructive criticism on all the homework they turn in each week. So this semester, I decided to use mylabsplus for the homework, strictly to make sure they are keeping up with the material, and then assign chapter-wide mini projects that are due on the test day.
In these mini projects, I ask students to solve a "realworld-like" problem or a "Reasearch-like" problem using the tools from the entire chapter. For example, on the chapter covering Jacobians, I ask them to "find a method to derive the formula for an n-dimensional hypersphere". or I may ask them to use Calculus to find both the straight line difference between 5 points on the globe versus the arc length distance between these points. In this manner I am able to give constructive criticism on each assignment, and the students seem to actually enjoy the projects much more than rote homework.
So far, test scores also seem to be somewhat better than in classes where I did not do the mini-projects, but I don't know if this is due to a better understanding of the material versus smarter students.