The good thing about completing an assignment very, very late is that one has the opportunity to peruse, ingest, and contemplate those that have been written before. As I logged on to ScholarBlogs, I had my response mostly written in my head, but then as I read multiple posts, replies, and responses to replies, my ideas about assessment and X-agogies continued to change and grow. I especially enjoyed Marshall’s thoughtful post as well as the back-and-forth discussion between Don and Michael. If this isn’t collaborative learning, I don’t know what is. (Thanks Leah!)
During Module 4 I have started a Word document that now contains several notes about teaching strategies – strategies for every class except for the online course I’m supposed to be focusing on. But as many of you have noted, and Leah has stressed, these ideas apply to all of our teaching, not just to the course we are currently planning. For my large, introductory lecture course, I plan to make some small-ish changes that I think will help with assessing student knowledge and understanding. For example, I like the idea of starting out class on Mondays with a quick (5 min tops) discussion of the ideas that made the largest impression on them from the week before. This will allow me to see what information as well as what teaching strategies stayed with them after a few days of whatever-undergraduates-do-on-the-weekend. Additionally, I plan to rewrite (or really, write) my course objectives to focus on the Relational Tasks from the SOLO taxonomy (analyze, apply, combine, compare, explain causes). This will take what I already thought I was doing and make it fully transparent for the students. I’ve never been very good about writing courses objectives directly. I’m actually toying around with the idea of asking students in our capstone seminar to come up with a list of course objectives on their own. While I won’t necessarily use what they come up with, it will help me see what they think learning in this type of class should be. I can use their ideas as a way to talk about why my own course objectives are meaningful. (And if I can’t articulate that, then I should throw them out.) My plan is to test these changes out over the next two semesters, and see how I can incorporate any of them into my online course next summer.
One last note: I spent much of the time while reading the articles for this week thinking about the two objectives of every college course: developing critical thought and writing abilities. Are these to be assessed traditionally or authentically or both? Or rather, are these means of assessment in themselves?