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?
It is usually the institution that applies the rules as to what can be done in assessment. I have been in some huge battles over this issue in several countries, as often those holding the institutional power are far from being subject experts in education or in assessing knowledge and seem rooted in test , test and test. Unfortunately, this also include the teachers within the colleges and universities that have little or no formal training in the science, art and craft of teaching. It is beyond me how these institutions think that a Masters degree or a PhD qualifies you to teach? It is this institutional arrogance that is at the heart of bad education experiences in higher education.I am sadden beyond belief that this situation has not been addressed yet. It is even more distressing for students to be taught by outdated higher education teachers often holding the institutional rank of associate Professor and above. I have seen here in Japan, Deans of Nursing with no Doctorates in any subjects. Courses run by medical doctors, well great is they are teaching anatomy but if they-they think that a MD training is higher than a PhD then they really need to retire and quickly.Again I argue just because they have a MD , it does not mean that they can actually understand teaching. Teaching is not an add-on item. It is its own subject-specific science, art and craft as mentioned above.Put any of these over inflated blowhards up against a trained teacher in their subject and they will be soon exposed as the advocates of emperors clothing syndrome that they are. If I sound angry, I am, for I suspect the numbers of students whom have had their lives marked by such people will be in the millions.
It is easy to avoid setting up high-stakes environments if you are working with educational professionals. Formative assessment, self-testing and reflection is a process where the student acquires knowledge over time. Course weighting should be in the the process, the evidence of that process and the knowledge gained. If knowledge processed in, is the same knowledge processed out it is banking education, memory learning and not about education. Students have to be encouraged to think and develop knowledge plus. However that is not the purpose of education, is it? I am reminded of what I wrote in My doctoral thesis in Bath University in the United Kingdom; For an example - my values of love and compassion as a nurse and priest and how the nursing profession and educational system does not exemplify these values, they are almost a contradiction. Nursing and education have different political and contextual agendas. The values that I want to teach in the classroom of critical inquiry can be blocked by the policing and policy power of the establishment. I want to be an educator who empowers students to think, the contradiction is I could actually be a banking educator (Freire 1970; Freire and Macedo 1987) in my actual practice. Deciding which thread is the most important and how to frame that thread was problematic to me. I truly could not disentangle the varying elements of my being and just present a selected distorted exclusion account’ (personal journal entry, August 4, 2003)
Again in 2007 in my thesis I was still struggling with the banking education system; I am conscious that I am a product of my own culture and that I have been imported into Japan, in a pedagogic sense. With the authority of the university, I brought with me a Western body of knowledge with which, if I delivered it without the consciousness that I claim, could easily result in my becoming a banking educator. I could actually have reinforced the educative colonisation of Japanese nursing by Western educational paradigms (Wolferen 1991). What I have strived to achieve, and I claim to have succeeded in this, is the encouragement of Japanese nursing students to engage with a curriculum that was conceptualised through a lens of Western educational thinking and construction, but not in a sense that the knowledge I present has any more “rightness” than their own forms of knowing. Rather, I suggest that we are co-creating a transcultural learning space, one in which I am being instructed, moulded and modified by my context and praxis, and my students likewise. This unique curriculum is one that is combined with a curriculum content that is Western in its educational framing and disciplines, Eastern in its spiritual conceptualisation and made Japanese through its emergence in actual practice and implementation. Therefore, in essence, a new form of educational practice has emerged in the inclusional pedagogy of the unique.(p.137) Adler-Collins 2007. Unpublished doctoral thesis. Bath University Department of Education.
What expectations do you have for online assessments? How do these expectations compare to those you have for face-to-face assessments? Are you harbouring any biases?
Online assessments in my thinking as expressed above are part of a process. The student self-assesses and critically reflect back what did he/she learn, what worked, what did not work. In formative assessment (informal) the online software I use provides me with in-depth analysis of every question asked. If several students have an issue with a particular question. Then it has been sign posted and my intervention is to revisit the subject and see how I can resolve the understanding. With large classes, I can easily support students with an audio feedback, noting the problem and suggesting possible ways forward.
I am male, white and English, of course, I have biases. I am privileged by my skin colour, my gender and my history. As long as I am mindful of these filters and conscious how they can change the lens of my inter-actions. Then I do not see a problem. I am a Buddhist monk. I reflect , reflect and reflect. I have deconstructed the filters of my self-hood , I almost disappeared. Smile.
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?
Huuum, not such a big issue. Auto scored is great when it’s a factual item being reviewed. Critical thinking , ideas need manual reviewing. Holistic rubrics, if they are well designed can bring about a consistency of marking. But fall down if you are looking for original thinking. Teachers are at the heart of assessment, they advocate for the students progress in gaining knowledge. Online marking is a tool, and only that it does what it is programmed to do.Human interaction can make those connections beyond that of a programme.
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 am not a fan of removing the teacher from the equation. F2F is precious time for the student and the educator/ teacher or facilitator. They engage with their knowledge progression, teachers identify the management of that process. Combinations work well. I use coffee shop clinic, an informal meeting where students can talk about issues. peer to peer, peer to teacher. And the coffee is good..smile..
Great believer in formative assessment and to that end I will be using ProProf .com software as it can do every type of question plus give outstanding auditing data for quality management and spotting issues forming with students studying.
Example of an assessment plan
1.0.0 Title. Reflective writing as Social learning. Magic, Myth or Fact.1.0.1 Age group. 19 –open 1.0.2 Prerequisites for this lesson. Successful completed individual activities, prior to the lesson. 1.0.3 Intended Learning Outcomes.By the successful conclusion of this exercise you will have managed to; 1.O.3.1. Individual activity. ( 4 hours)
Successfully navigate the web and Open the course blog page (WB).
Successfully posted your blog (WB).
Engage with posting of at least one other course blogger (WB).
Completed your online signpost self-learning evaluation (WFT).
Complete your online survey of the exercise (SPS).
Completed your portfolio entry with your reflections on the exercise. (EP).
Searched the web for scholarly papers on the issues surrounding blogging in an academic setting
18.104.22.168 Class Activity. (F2F) Group activity. (30 mins)
Discuss in your groups the Pros and cons of blogging. Search the web for examples that support each side of the debate (FTF), (WR), (DP)
Successfully co-created a shared google document. (FTF), (WR), (DP)
Successfully write a draft Netiquette article. (FTF), (WR), (DP)
Successfully publish the document to the course open document area. (ELO)
1.0.4. Assessment and feedback
Self-assessment by signposted online reflection.
Summative Reflection, Peer to Peer. Peer to Group
Teachers oral feedback by audio file.
Completed your portfolio entry with your reflections on the exercise. (EP).
1.0.5 Sequence of activities
Course micro-lecture on Blogging (ML) (FTF)
The Web, Interactive Blogs, (WB)
Web research (WR)
Reflective journaling (RJ)
Web formative tests /Quizzes (WFT)
Sign Post-Formative surveys (SPS)
E-Portfolio Building (EP)
Critical Thinking (CT)
Face to Face (FTF)
Evidence of Completion of learning outcomes. (ELO)
Design Notes. LMS Canvas or ProProf. Canvass is free open resources. ProfProf is a professional Fee paying application with Virtual Classroom facilities up to 10 classes. Payment is my number of enrolled students. Word count 300
Graphic representation of a lesson profile with assessments
Portfolio living case study. Opened April 2017
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