Christie's blog

now FREE

As of Summer 2009,
the homeworktree planner is now completely free!

Yup, in the time it takes to write a list of your assignments, you can enter them into homeworktree and automatically generate a semester plan.

So tell your friends it's free!

Try it again, for the very first time

In the past 6 months we've had ongoing updates, including:

  • the ability to "fix" an assignment in the week before it's due
  • new calendar view
  • simplified updating
  • more, faster and easier customizability
  • new navigation
  • and best of all - it's free!

NCAA Rules Encourage Easy Majors?

A recent USA Today report identified that the NCAA does have a problem with athletes “clustering” into the easiest academic programs in order to maintain their eligibility. (See last week’s post here.)

But the NCAA’s own policies may be at fault. Several academic policies implemented in the past five years may be creating a context that encourages clustering.

  1. The NCAA has new rules that make it easier for athletes to be eligible in their freshmen year. Incoming freshmen used to need an 820 SAT score or a 68 ACT sum score. Now athletes can be eligible in Div 1 as long as they have a 2.5 GPA in a set of core academic high school classes.

NCAA Athletes Taking it Easy?

Last week, USA Today had a cover story on how college athletes in the NCAA tend to take easier academic majors in order to maintain their eligibility.

Many teams have a higher than statistically reasonable percentage of students in the same major. According to USA Today reporters, Robert Case at Old Dominion University has studied athlete “clustering” and found that if 25% of a team is in the same major, “it constitutes a non-random cluster, regardless of the team size.”

Hmmm… according to the article, which is based on 2007-2008 data:

SchoolSport% of Jrs & Srs in ClusterMajor
Boise State
Boise State
M & W basketball
Univ. of Southern California
Georgia Tech
M basketball
Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech
Texas-El Paso
M basketball
multidisciplinary studies

The report looked at 5 sports at 142 schools, and 83% of the schools had at least one cluster. In total, 235 clusters were identified, and 53% of those were extreme, with more then 40% of the team in the same major.

If above 25% indicates a non-random cluster, then something is definitely going on. But what, exactly?

More on this next week.

Be Free

This week I was talking with a university academic skills coach, and she said that as soon as students put together a homework plan in their first few sessions with her, "they feel so free!"


It doesn't take much. In the time it takes you to write out all your assignments, you can enter them into Homework Tree and get a customized, homework plan that is easy to update when you get behind.

Go for it. Be free.


A while back I met someone on the Skytrain who really impressed me. He was a construction worker, had his boots and hard hat, and was heading home from work around 6 o’clock that night.

As soon as he started up a conversation, it was obvious he wasn’t university educated. When I told him I ran a website for university students, he excitedly told me his story.

He left home at 16 to start working, joined the military, served two tours as a peacekeeper in Bosnia, and was now working in construction. He had somehow managed to get conditionally accepted into Simon Fraser University, provided he could get his high school equivalency by the end of September. So every day after work he went home to do a few hours of homework, struggling through more modules in his high school program.

He wanted to get an education, but was finding it hard. He’d been in combat and had faced death every day, but he said university scared him even more. It was so different. So unknown.

I didn’t get his name that night, but I just want to say, whoever you are, good for you. I hope one day to develop the same courage…