About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Example of assessment part 3: Online course

Below is the assessments I used for an online course in Distance education. When I create assessments for distance learning, there is a more systematic approach as assessments act as a means of dialogue between the student and myself and the students with each other. Not only do I use assessments to check student learning with the desired course outcomes, I also use it to check if the course is fulfilling the needs for the student (which might be different than what the institution requires), a means to create a class community, and a way for the student to identify their own needs, strengths and create a learning agenda for after the course.

As a result, I use multiple mediums for assessment and multiple measures including teacher, student reflections, peer reviews, group assessments, discussion, blogs, student projects, annotated bibliographies, and group projects. One thing that is missing from my assessments are standardized tests.

Below is the evaluation criteria I gave students:

A. Students will be expected to participate and contribute to online discussions, both within SLN and on outside assigned discussion boards (Yahoo, Googlegroups). Students will be expected to demonstrate they have done the readings by citing pages and ideas from the readings, but applying those concepts to the discussion activities. Minimal discussion requirements are included in the discussion instructions. This will earn students a “B-”. Students that want a higher mark will be required to post more frequently and include quality postings (a discussion of quality postings is included in the instructions for discussions in Module 1). Maximum 40 Points per module.

B. At the end of each module, students will be given time to reflect on the module’s instruction and their learning as a journal entry. They will be given some guiding questions in the journal section and asked to answer the questions and evaluate their performance in class for that module. Students may also post other issues that they find of importance for that module. Maximum 40 points per module.

C. Students will work on designing a distance learning or outreach module with other teachers. As part of the process, students may be working with other faculty at a distance. A series of preparatory activities and the journal questions will be used to help guide students through the process. Ten percent of the grade will be based on the preparatory activities and 10% of the final grade will be based on the final product. Maximum 200 points

D. Students will write an evaluative annotated bibliography using 5 resources from the resource list posted on the course website and 5 additional resources (peer reviewed article or academic book) which are related to their module and research interests. In addition to the APA style citation, the annotated bibliography should include a short summary of the resource and how it relates to their module topic. Maximum 15 points per citation.

E. Each student will write a reflective paper on the instructional design choices they made for their distance learning module. The paper should include research and references which support their choices or explain their approach. The paper should be 10-14 pages double-spaced, using APA style. Maximum 250 points.

Note the level of choice students are given, yet there are also standards established (i.e. APA style) that are required by the department and profession.

In addition to the above evaluation criteria, I include the following at the beginning of each discussion area (entitled "Instructions for discussion")

Quality discussion responses
A high quality response contains information from the textbook or other valid source, or applies a concept from the text or course in a meaningful way, or facilitates understanding of the course material or topic. This could include posing questions, clarifying others ideas, giving alternative view points or interpretations of the same reading passages, giving real life examples that apply the concepts, and citing additional resources. Responses such as: "I agree.", "Good question" or "Good answer" / Any response that is just an opinion, or is unsubstantiated may add to the discussion but will not be evaluated as part of your discussion grade. Any response that is carelessly typed, poorly thought-out, grammatically incorrect or confusing / any response that is disrespectful of another student or any other person, etc., are not acceptable.

As discussion is of a public nature, please observe proper "netiquette" -- courteous and appropriate forms of communication and interaction over the Internet (in online discussions). This means no personal attacks, obscene language, or intolerant expression. All viewpoints should be respected. Because there are no communication cues, such as a smile, eye contact, nodding, and tone of voice, to help identify when someone is jesting or being sarcastic, you should be careful not to be insulted if a comment is misunderstood or misinterpreted, but rather to clarify its meaning. Likewise, you need to expect that others might misinterpret or be insulted when using subtle humor, so reread what you intend to post to make sure there will be no misinterpretation of your intentions. Emoticons can be used to express your intentions.

This sets a stand criteria on which I am evaluating the discussions. I find it difficult to "grade" each discussion post, but instead grade holistically. I give each student a grade for discussion after each module. In some cases, students may post a few very high quality posts or they may post a number of very thought provoking questions, both of which are evaluated highly. Other times, they may post frequently, but just very superficially in which case they are not evaluated as highly.

In developing discussing questions, I make sure students are required to apply reading concepts and class activities to their own situation and/or class problems. Below is an example of the discussion question I used to evaluate their understanding of distance learning assessment:

Work though each of the activities before you start this discussion! Since you will have more than three weeks for this discussion, I would not expect a high level of participation until April 14-26.

Analyze each of the activities listed in the activities section above using Philip's design dimensions. How would you categorize each of those activities? Which activities/design dimensions were you most comfortable doing as a student? as an instructional designer/teacher? Which were you least comfortable with as a student? as an instructional designer/teacher? Which do you think would be most relevant for your students? Why? What type of support do you think would be necessary for those activities above? Why? Look through at least 3 other students that were not part of your team and discuss the types of problems they had and how you would have supported them as an instructional designer.

The following are instructions for peer review on students projects:

Attach a draft of your project for the class to review and give feedback. Remember when you are giving feedback that the author of the draft 1) is probably still working on it so it is a work in progress, 2) has put a lot of time and thought into the project, 3) might want you to only look at certain aspects of the project, 4) may have a different teaching situation than your own, 5) is posting this for constructive feedback (saying" this looks good" is not enough, explain why it looks good, what you like about it; likewise, "you need to change X" is not enough, explain why you feel there needs to be changes, such as I wasn't able to understand what you wanted the student to do in X), and can't see your face (you might want to use emoticans).

Notice how I try to create boundaries for the type of feedback peers should be giving. This is especially true for online assessment as there are no social cues that will help to temper constructive criticism.

Below are the instructions for the project required by the students. Notice how, again, they are given a great deal of choice, yet within a very structured framework.

Each module, students will be asked to submit a different part of what will be their final project. Each student will be expected to develop a distance learning module. While more than one student may collaborate on the distance learning activity or module, each student will be expected to tailor the module to their own situation (in other words there needs to be some components that are their own original work). The module will follow this format:

Module Name
Author Name and Date Prepared
Target Group: Who will use this module (student, teachers, institution, general public); academic domain (i.e. ESL, science, history);level of education (elementary, secondary, higher ed, adult).
Institution (s): A brief description of the institutional context where it will be used including location (s), mission or goals, relationship between institutions if there are multiple locations, institutional structure (including required approvals and resource allocation).
Technology: List primary and secondary (or back-up) technologies that will be used. Include whether these technologies are currently available or will need to be procured by the students or institutions. Also include technology support that will be available including help desks or websites.
Module Description: Include a summary of the purpose of the module and how it will fit into the curriculum and/or standards and any prerequisite requirements
Module Goals and Objectives
Dates and/or Activity Schedule:
· Identify due dates and/or time frames for activities. Specific dates are not necessary (i.e. you may use Day, Week, or Month 1).
· Identify and briefly describe module activities
Module Content: Include auxiliary information including readings (in PDF or Word files), CD’s, Websites (addresses), Video or Audio clips (web address or on CD’s), scripts, or accompanying manuals (i.e. video conferencing).
In class activities: How will this module be integrated into your course or class? This section should be different for each student, even if you are collaborating with another teacher. It may include discussion questions unique to your group, separate activities, or separate assignments.
Evaluation: Method and basis for evaluating achievement of module goals and objectives. These might include a grading rubric, module evaluation by students, and/or end of module assignment or exam.
Supporting documents: This includes websites, worksheets, or articles for teachers.

Some samples of previous modules are posted in the shared reference area and on the course website.

Another aspect of this project was the submission for feedback by both the instructor and peers and the negotiation of standards based on that feedback.

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