(Side note: My off work time has become increasingly busier as of late with recently getting married (tee-hee) and looking for a new house (possibly building). I intend to keep up with this blog but wanted to mention any irregular gaps between posting. Thank for reading!)
Update: I feel way too disconnected from this topic this week, but found I really missed going through the readings and posting this reflection. I attended the live webinar yesterday and as usual, it was fun and informative. I wish I had a login for their Materia tool, and hope they do find a way to open that up to non-UCF people. They have created several templates for interactive widgets/games for instructors and designers to use in their courses. I may or may have to spend a fair amount of time playing around with that over the past year or so. I first found it during my research for an interview I had with UCF and was glad to check it out again after the webinar yesterday. Like Kelvin Thompson said, having tools like that is a work in progress. I for one an glad they keep it up!
This weeks’ questions will be somewhat more theoretical in nature since my teaching experience (so far) has been mostly in K12 and with faculty professional development. I look forward to exploring this topic in order to formulate a more solid idea of what future courses could look like as far as assessments.
Questions to Ponder
- How much of the final course grade do you typically allot to testing? How many tests/exams do you usually require? How can you avoid creating a “high stakes” environment that may inadvertently set students up for failure/cheating?
- I would like to just say that this depends on the type, of course, however, in my experience, it seems there is always some sort of test in each course. Whether it is a quiz/knowledge check, midterm, final, or something else like a project there is something that the student can show to the instructor that they have (or have not) met the learning outcomes for the course. I would focus more on what I want the students to be able to do and let that lead to the product and thus to how much of the final grade it takes up.
- I hope I would be realistic my expectations for the course so students do not feel that the only way to complete required tasks is to fail or cheat. I would use the results of each course and any associated hiccups or challenges to reevaluate my expectations. Like any effective course design, I would set up an iterative process to improve and empower students to succeed while meeting the expected outcomes.
- What expectations do you have for online assessments? How do these expectations compare to those you have for face-to-face assessments? Are you harboring any biases?
- The most challenging assessments I remember taking during my online course days were the ones where you could just tell that a TON of thought was put into the questions. Whether it was a quiz, exam, or a project you could not just Google or Ctrl+F the keywords to get the answer(s). The reflective thought required took extra time but I guarantee I remember more of that content than assessments that were not designed that way. This way there was at least some built-in protection cheating…especially when the answer had to be open-ended and in your own words.
- I think many of my expectations for online are similar to those I hold for f2f classes. Dedicated time to work on projects is great in both modalities, as is allowing people to team up (when appropriate) on tasks. It would be hard, though, I imagine, to hold to that when face to face with students…it would be tempting to change stuff or give more information or guidance. Hopefully not, but this is uncharted territory and I bet experience would be the great teacher!
- As the BlendKit text mentions, I too am a fan of student-generated questions. Those require not only thinking about the answer but real forethought when designing the questions! Win-Win!
- What trade-offs do you see between the affordances of auto-scored online quizzes and project-based assessments? How will you strike the right balance in your blended learning course?
- I could see it being nice to have quick pop-quiz or knowledge check style quizzes be auto-scored. Those multiple guess, I mean multiple choice, t/f, fill in the blank questions could be used and could even serve as good study material for students. However, as my answer to the previous question stated, it is difficult to discourage cheating when using that style, and the questions themselves tend to be on the lower end of thinking skills (like Bloom’s).
- It would depend some on the topic, but I would try to balance out auto-scored and more project based assignments by periodically reviewing the course content to see what design would work best for each outcome. I do remember seeing tools online that could be used to review your course for media and assessment types used to make sure one style was not used too much more than others. It may have been a UDL-related resource, but I digress…
- How will you implement formal and informal assessments of learning into your blended learning course? Will these all take place face-to-face, online, or in a combination?
- I fought off copy and pasting my last answer here, but again it will depend. (Yeah, that is a bit of a cop out answer. I shall endeavor to do better.)
- Informal assessments are a very effective way to gauge learner understanding and help apply aide and resources as needed. The student may or may not realize this too, we always hope they will and encourage it but if they do not the formal assessment sure will! Some data may be required by the institution too, so this and direction by the Program dept would influence when and how these all happen.
- I would hope to have formal and informal assessments wherever they are needed on a day to day basis, but in planning hope that I could rely on a combined approach.