ETEC 648 Session10

My final project may be found here.

Executive Summary

Introduction

For this course of study, we have learned about using various tools to assess online learning. I chose to focus on assessing reflective thinking and researched articles that provided some direction on how to accomplish this. Through my literature review, I found that the use of blogs is a highly effective practice for online instruction because it facilitates academic discourse, encourages complex thinking, and accountability. Cameron, in the article, Economics with Training Wheels: Using Blogs in Teaching and Assessing Introductory Economics, noted that the use of blogs benefit all students in a course as the community of inquiry becomes active when students collaborate and share findings.

            My literature review also supported the use of simple rubrics to assess reflective thinking. For example, Brookhart created an easy to use four-category and four-point rubric to evaluate creativity. Rubrics are also highly encouraged in the article, Using Projects Scoring Rubrics to Assess Student Learning in an Information Systems Program. This article presented a methodology for using standardized rubrics for measuring student achievement in interrelated courses in an academic program. The authors noted that using scoring rubrics provide students with a view of what matters most in a project and how their work will be judged. The authors also pointed out that there is a difference between using rubrics to assess generic skills and using rubrics for specific subject matter understanding. All of these suggestions were taken into consideration when developing a rubric for my own sixth grade students.

Project Description

For this project, I utilized the website Kidblog.org in order to design a safe blogging space in which students would be able to collaborate with one another on topics we have learned in class. Using Kidblog.org, I developed a portal in which students will use blogging as an assessment tool because it would allow students to collaborate with one another as well as build on their reflective skills.

The initial stages included setting up an account on the website, kidblog.org. I chose this website because it is allows the administrator to monitor comments and posts, it is easy to use, and I could create various sections or classes with my one teacher account. There are also various supporting videos and websites that provide tutorials on how to set up an account, add posts, images, videos, and manage the blog site. The link to my blog for this project is www.kidblog.org/ScholarBloggers-2.

As an online instructor, it is vital that the course organized from the beginning. This provides structure for the learning experience, similar to what is expected in a face-to-face course. Garrison wrote, “the design work at the front end of a course of studies will pay considerable dividends during the course of study” (Garrison, 2011, p.57).After setting up the blogging platform, I created a Welcome post in order to provide basic guidelines and safety tips for Internet use and blogging. In order to evaluate student achievement, I also developed a rubric that would assess timeliness, reflection, clarity, and use of references.

Project Relevance

This project serves two purposes. Through the blog, it facilitates the use of academic discourse among my sixth grade students using topics that are relevant to our content areas. Secondly, the rubric that has been developed serves as a tool to assess student work and provide much needed feedback. As Dr. Newberry noted in week 6 of our course, grading can be used to shape student performance and direct them on the learning path that the instructor wants them to achieve. Through the grading system, students are given quality feedback that deepens the students’ grasp on the topic, deepens their understanding, and motivates them to apply the knowledge gained.

It is through quality feedback on assignments that grading is effective. Simply writing, “good job” is not enough in most cases. According to much of the research in the field of e-Learning, the biggest complaint by students is the timeliness of instructor feedback. In the article, Overcoming the #1 Complaint of Online Students: Poor Instructor Feedback, Sull gives great tips on how to enhance student feedback, which could clarify misconceptions and promote valuable discourse. Some of these tips include checking email at least three times daily and being present on the discussion boards. If students are working on an activity that is rubric scored, there should still be a comment section so the instructor could discuss the strengths of the product and maybe what could be worked on. That is the rationale behind the extra blog step I included, the blog summary via email and for relaying to students that I look forward to interacting with them through our blog.

Work Cited

Brookhart, S. M. (2013). Assessing Creativity. Educational Leadership, 70(5), 28–34.

Cameron, M. P. (2012). “Economics with Training Wheels”: Using Blogs in Teaching and Assessing Introductory Economics. Journal of Economic Education, 43(4), 397–407.

Garrison, D. R. (2011). E-learning in the 21st century a framework for research and practice. New York: Routledge.

Petkov, D., Petkova, O., D’Onofrio, M., & Jarmoszko, A. T. (2008). Using Projects Scoring Rubrics to Assess Student Learning in an Information Systems Program. Journal of Information Systems Education, 19(2), 241–252.

Sull, E. (2008, November 28). Overcoming the #1 Complaint of Online Students: Poor Instructor Feedback Faculty Focus | Faculty Focus. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/distance-learning/overcoming-the-1-complaint-of-online-students-poor-instructor-feedback/

ETEC 648 Session 9

This week, we reviewed various articles regarding the issues of online cheating and plagiarism. We also looked at methods online instructors could use to reduce the amount of cheating in their courses.

Thinking about an online class you teach or might teach, what is the most likely issue related to plagiarism and/or cheating with which you would anticipate dealing?

Considering that I teach elementary school and I am moving in the direction of hybrid or flipped classroom methods, I foresee that students will begin cut and pasting information from websites. For the last three years, we have used pages from a Geography book to give students practice and support in map skills. Last year, when we acquired a wealth of technology, I caught a student cheating on their map page. She had found the answer key from the Geography book online! Other issues that have occurred in sixth grade include students taking Accelerated Reader tests for one another and purposefully scoring low on intervention websites in order to “not get the hard lessons,”

Identify and explain the steps and measures you would take to reduce the occurrence of plagiarism/cheating identified in item 1.

In a hybrid/flipped classroom that I have, there is a physical teacher present. I like the idea of having students pledge to not cheat. The article, How can Universities Stop Students Cheating Online, uses Coursea as an example of an online learning entity that has invited students to use an honor code and pledge not to cheat. There should also be consequences for students who are caught cheating. A plagiarism policy must be developed for sixth graders such as the one developed for universities.

How can Universities Stop Students Cheating Online
http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/mar/14/students-cheating-plagiarism-online

What does research tell us about the reasons students give for plagiarism/cheating. Remember to cite your sources!

In the article, Online Cybercheating and Plagiarism Still Strong: 61.9%, one of the reasons given for cybercheating is that it is so easy to do and the chances of being caught are slim. The statistic this article presented that is very interesting is that males and poor students are those who are more likely to cheat. In the article, Cheating in Online Student Assessment: Plagiarism, the notion that cheating occurs because of its ease is also supported. This article also supports the statement that there are slim chances of being caught due to lack of information security.

Online Cybercheating and Plagiarism Still Strong: 61.9%, http://neoacademic.com/2011/02/04/online-plagiarism-and-cybercheating-still-strong/#.VH_8gGTF_3p

Cheating in Online Student Assessment: Plagiarism http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer72/rowe72.html

Evaluate your participation in the discussion this week. Provide at least one quote from the discussion that supports your evaluation.

This week, I was present in both threads that were open for us. I commented on a couple of posts, and I just realized they were both to Laura! I am sharing my initial post from the Cybercheating thread.

Is cybercheating really different than any other form of plagiarism or cheating?

Cheating is cheating. Submitting work that is not your own and not giving credit where it is due is cheating.

What is “cybercheating” according to the article provided?

The article, Online Plagiarism and Cybercheating Still Strong-61.9% defines cybercheating as “cheating enabled by the internet.” It is equated with plagiarism. The author distinguishes between cybercheating/plagiarism and cheating in online courses and focuses on statistics based on cybercheating/plagiarism.

How can we prevent cybercheating and other similar types of plagiarism?

As teachers, it is vital that we teach our students to cite resources. In my classroom, if students are using information from their text, I ask them to include the page number they gathered that information from in parentheses. I haven’t introduced the entire APA manual to them, yet, but pagination is a good start! During my first quarter as a grad student, Dr. Leh held a plagiarism session. A staff member (I can’t remember her name) came and spoke to our class about the forms of plagiarism and how to avoid it. I thought it was a great refresher since I had not been a student for ten years!

Identify the student you think was the most important participant in the Blackboard discussion. Explain why and provide at least one quote from that student’s contributions to the Blackboard discussion.

Laura is always very present in our discussions. She provided great detail about her own project and took a lot of time to review other students’ work, including my own. I really appreciate her work ethic, extended research on all of our topics, and relevant comments to others. Most of all, I value her honesty. Here is the quote I chose to share:

“Hi Christen,

No, the blog is not for kinder. It will be for 5th-8th.

Normally, not a lot of time is spent on persuasive writing, but because the core curriculum is on line, I can go into depth with certain things, actually teach. The kids are told, “Write an __________essay on __________ and it is due on_________. No one walks them through the process. The kids feel overwhelmed and they do not learn. I will take as long as it takes so that they produce an awesome piece of writing. That will give them confidence that they can do it and they will have learned a strategy. I have done this in the past with poetry, folktales, historical fiction, and esssays. A number of my students are published because they send their work to anthologys. They get really motivated about writing. The cool thing is that sometimes the kid you would least expect is published over some that you would expect. The last few years I have not had the opportunity to spend the time because of pressures about what to teach and when. I would not have the time with these kids seeing them once a week, but technology allows me to bridge the gap.

Confession- when I started the blog I actually began to set it up for all types of writing–narrative and expository. For this project, I quickly realized it was over the top. So, I took everything off and decided to focus on persuasive writing. There are so many critical thinking skills involved with persuasive writing, it lends itself to rigor and authenticity. If they kids can realize there are formulas to writing, they can generalize to other writing forms. It would not take a lot to morph the process into a compare/contrast essay, or another form. I am not completely happy with the rubric at this point. I have tweaked it severaly times. It is a work in progress and may always be…

Laura”

Reflect on what you have learned this week. What have you learned that has the potential to inform or influence you or your practice of online learning going forward? Explain why.

Through the readings this week, I learned that I need to be more aware that my students may be involved in cybercheating. Just because my students are eleven doesn’t mean that I can’t introduce the concept of plagiarism and cybercheating. As a traditional classroom teacher, we constantly remind students to keep their eyes on their own work and not to copy directly out of the textbook unless they’ve used proper citations. Now, I must work on introducing and teaching students about plagiarism policies in our classroom. I will begin by visiting my school district website to find out if there is already literature in place.

 

 

ETEC 648 Sesson 8

ETEC 648 Week 8

Introduction

This week, we focused on using portfolios as a means of authentic assessment in online learning. While the thought of using portfolios may have been discarded in traditional face-to-face classrooms because of the lack of space and the effort to maintain organization of paper work, the idea is revived in eLearning. Students could use websites, blogs, or other presentation software as a means to create working portfolios, showcase portfolios, or assessment portfolios for the end of a program.

Provide a project update. What is your working title?

I had initially planned to create a Digital Citizenship course and implement blogging as a means for assessment. Throughout the last few weeks, I have decided to not create a whole new content area, as vital as that subject may be. We address digital citizenship daily, but seeing how overloaded my students are with Math, Reading, Social Studies, and Science, I couldn’t see myself adding more to their plate. Instead, I will be utilizing blogging as a means for assessment in the content areas we are already studying, primarily Social Studies. I haven’t thought of a working title.

How is your project connected to eLearning?

My project is connected to eLearning in that students will receive their assignments in Google Classroom and utilize Kidblog to publish their posts and maintain discourse with one another.

How is your project relevant for you?

This project is relevant as it is pushing me to find innovative teaching practices and assessment practices for a 21st Century classroom. Although I teach a face-to-face class, I can still create eLearning opportunities which will better prepare my students for what lies ahead in Middle School, High School, and college.

What are the three most interesting/relevant/informative/important articles in your bibliography for your project?

Brookhart, S. M. (2013). Assessing Creativity. Educational Leadership, 70(5), 28–34.

Summary:

The author of this article explains the meaning of creativity in education and the value of creativity. Brookhart created a rubric as a means to communicate success to students, not as a means to create a grade. Overall, rubrics are used to clarify criteria for success, what a high quality product would look like as opposed to a low quality product. Rubrics also function as a visual organizer, which is useful for many students. The categories in rubric to assess creativity include: variety of ideas and contexts, variety of sources, combining ideas, and communicating something new. The rubric had four points: very creative, creative, ordinary/routine, imitative. Susan Brookhart noted that by using rubrics to assess creativity, students are given quality feedback.

Review:

This article is extremely resourceful for my coursework because as I work towards creating criteria for my student’s online blogs, a rubric will also need to be developed in order to assess blogs in my online course. With blogging, creativity will also need to be addressed. I want to ensure that my student’s posts are authentic and from his or her own perspective, not just copied and pasted lines from their text. The rubric that Brookhart developed is very simple: four categories and four points. I would like to create something as simple to use so my students know what to aim for when writing their blog posts.

Cameron, M. P. (2012). “Economics with Training Wheels”: Using Blogs in Teaching and Assessing Introductory Economics. Journal of Economic Education, 43(4), 397–407.doi: 10.108000220485.2012.714316

Summary:

The authors of this article describe the relevance of using blogs in an economics course. Since students are contributing their individual findings within a course, it fits well into a constructivist style of teaching. The use of blogs can benefit all students in a course as the community of inquiry becomes active when students collaborate and share findings. The authors noted that an instructor should focus on assessing the quality of blog postings rather than quantity and that there was a positive correlation between blog participation and final exam scores. They also observed that using a blog as an assessment tool requires a significant commitment from the course instructor as he or she would need to moderate the blog, provide feedback, and encourage deeper thinking by supplying further questions. There also needs to be a student buy-in in order for blogs to flourish.

Review:

My intention for my project is to use a blogging feature in order to assess student understanding within an online course. This article will help me with my project because it has supplied me with more insight as to features should be incorporated in the blog criteria as well as the categories I will use when creating my rubric. I am taking into account that blog quality should be valued over quantity of posts, which means that I will need to develop in depth focus questions that students will respond to.

Dietz-Uhler, B., & Lanter, J. R. (2009). Using the Four-Questions Technique to Enhance Learning. Teaching of Psychology, 36(1), 38–41. doi:10.1080/00986280802529327

Summary:

In this study, the authors designed a four-question technique that encourages student to analyze, reflect, relate, and question the material they are learning in order to promote content retention. They designed a form that students would complete about the studied material, which included the four questions. The four questions are generic and may be used in a variety of topics of study. Participants in this study were paired and used a web-based interactive activity. The four questions included:

  1. Identify one important concept, research finding, theory, or idea in psychology that you learned while completing this activity
  2. Why do you believe that this concept, research finding, theory, or idea in psychology is important?
  3. Apply what you have learned from this activity to some aspect of your life.
  4. What question(s) has this activity raised for you? What are you still wondering about?

In this study, students were either given the four questions before or after the quiz on the interactive activity. The results showed that students performed better on the quiz when they completed the questions first. The results of this study suggest that when students take the time to think and elaborate on learned material in multiple ways, the comprehension of the material improves and they perform better on tests.

Review:

As I work towards developing standards for student blog content, I need to be aware of effective practices. This article gave me ideas about the criteria I will incorporate in the blog development. I may use the four questions as a starting point for developing focus questions my students will respond to. I would be interested to learn what types of responses the third question would yield from my sixth graders.

What is authentic assessment in your context. Please explain important details like grade level, content area etc.

Authentic assessment for a sixth grade online course in Social Studies would be the use of blogging to respond to in-depth questions about the focus topics. Students would maintain a blog from day one in an ideal school year so that they would have a record of their learning throughout the year.

What are three types of portfolios? Choose one type of portfolio and explain how you could implement it in some eLearning setting.

  • Working Portfolios: This is a work in progress that contains samples of finished products. This type of portfolio serves as a spot to save work that will be assembled for a later date for showcasing.
  • Showcase Portfolios: This type of portfolio is highly rewarding to the student as it is a spot that his/her best work is displayed.
  • Assessment Portfolios: This type of portfolio documents what the student has learned. In an eLearning setting, this type of portfolio would work for students are will need to present to a larger audience at the end of a program. For example, in our program, we will need to present our ePortfolios in the form of a website as we near the end. It will contain what we have learned about the areas of Instructional Technology, including Design, Development, Research, and Technology.

Helpful link:

http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/197171/chapters/The-Types-of-Portfolios.aspx

What is competency-based learning? How could this impact your career?

In competency-based learning, a student earns their credits or certification by demonstrating what they know and what they can do. In education, when this is highly meaningful as students may demonstrate proficiency in content areas and accelerate on to another area of study. For instance, if a student passes a section in a math pretest, that student can exit out of the lesson they demonstrated proficiency in and can then move ahead independently or work on higher leveled projects in class rather than sit through the lesson they already can do. This idea impacts my career immensely because I need to explore innovative ways to support and enrich students who are able to compact out of lessons. I will also need to be organized in a way to keep track of who compacted out and who needs extra support in certain areas of study.

Helpful links:

http://www.wgu.edu/why_WGU/competency_based_approach

http://www.competencyworks.org/about/competency-education/

Evaluate your participation in the discussion this week. Provide at least one quote from the discussion that supports your evaluation.

This week I attempted to be present in all three threads. Although I made myself present on one day, I didn’t really check back in afterwards, which is a common habit of mine. I did attempt to address the topics and to provide some feedback or elaboration on what other students had posted before me.

I commented on Christen’s initial post in the Project Thread:
“Christen,

I am blown away at the intensity of your project because it’s being applied to such a large platform as opposed to my classroom rubric! It is exciting to see how your project has been developing and that you are able to apply what has already been designed.”

My initial post in the Portfolio Thread

What are some great portfolio tools and practices?
I have toyed around with the idea of using Google Presentation as a source for creating a digital portfolio. It is similar to Powerpoint and students could upload work or share links to support learning. I thought about using a class theme for sixth graders, that would be applicable to all content areas, similar to what GATE teachers do. Then, students could share their work samples that relate to the class theme. I have also thought about possibly allowing students to create their own Google Classroom, rather than a website. In this way, students could create sections for each content area and organize their work accordingly. Students who do not have much experience using technology as tools will struggle, so this is not something I would put into effect maybe until the middle of the second trimester. In an ideal world, students would begin collecting portfolio work from the start of a school year or a course. 

How would we make a portfolio work in a class like this one?
We have managed our blogs this quarter, which serve as a type of portfolio. When the course is over, we will all have a collection of work beginning from Session 1. It will be neat to look back at all the effort we put into the course, the feedback we received from others and from our professor. 

Identify the student you think was the most important participant in the Blackboard discussion. Explain why and provide at least one quote from that student’s contributions to the Blackboard discussion.

Christen and Laura are always valuable contributors to our discussions on Blackboard because they give updates on the development of their work as well as insight to the topics we have studied. This week, there was a post that I decided was very valuable from Griselda. She addressed a comment by Laura, which could have a great impact on Laura’s students and school site:

“Hi Laura,
That sounds like a violation of the William’s Act. I would look into it because it certainly is not fair that they did not take your third graders into consideration when they made the purchase.

It’s greate that you have a volunteer to help with teaching the computer skills class for parents and students. I can’t believe the process of clearing her takes so long. We have to have parents fingerprinted and TB tested when they chaperone science camp and we get the live scan results within a few days!

Griselda”

Reflect on what you have learned this week. What have you learned that has the potential to inform or influence you or your practice of online learning going forward? Explain why

This week we looked at other avenues we could use to assess student achievement. There are three types of portfolios we can introduce to students. I would begin with a Working Portfolio with my sixth graders because it seems like the least threatening for now.

 

 

ETEC 648 Session 7

Introduction:

This week we were asked to apply the rubric we developed last session to evaluate two students from another course. When I developed my rubric, I intended it to be for sixth grade students because that is what I teach. My students are still developing scholarly writing skills and learning to cite textual evidence to prove their responses. Below, you will find my original rubric an this week’s reflection.

Original Grading Rubric:

30: Student interacted with at least two students and cited textual evidence when contributing to discussion. Student responded in a positive and scholarly manner to comments directed to them. Student was prompt to address others and to submit original work. Original posts and comments used grade-appropriate grammar and writing conventions.

25: Student interacted with at least two students and cited textual evidence when contributing to discussion. Student responded to comments directed to them. Student was a day late to address others or to submit original work. Original posts and comments mostly used grade-appropriate grammar and writing conventions.

20: Student interacted with one student and cited textual evidence when contributing to discussion. Student did not respond promptly to comments directed to them. Student was a day late to address others or to submit original work. Original posts and comments did not use grade-appropriate grammar and writing conventions.

15: Student did not interact with other students but posted original work on time. Original post and comments used grade-appropriate grammar and writing conventions. Must be revised.

0: Nothing was submitted

Weekly Reflection Questions

Overall, how well did your rubric work?
Using the rubric I created for sixth graders to score graduate work was not impossible. It was very easy to score a low score (less that 20) using my rubric if a student did not cite textual evidence or supply evidence that the student had read beyond what was assigned.

Identify and explain the strengths of your rubric.

One strength of my rubric was that it was mostly straightforward to supply a number grade to a students. It addressed student interaction, timeliness, civility, and the use of resources.

 Identify and explain one weaknesses of your rubric.

There was a lot of gray-area when I was grading one of my students. She was very active in the discussion and provided a lot of feedback, but it was not evident that she had furthered her understanding of the topic through academic reading. If she had cited some sources or provided a link or two, she could have scored a 30 on my rubric. According to my rubric, she should have scored less than a 20. I saw a flaw in my rubric right away!

 What changes would you make to your rubric now that you have used it?

Below is my revised rubric. Some of the changes I made regarded the use of textual evidence and the use of appropriate grammar. One aspect of my previous rubric that I did not like was that if a student did not provide extra resources or textual evidence, they could not score more than a 20. With my revised rubric, a student could have contributed greatly to a discussion and made relevant connections without citations and still earn a 25. I also included an aspect to the rubric that rates the student contribution to discussion. If a student affected the discussion by either probing others to elaborate or to dig deeper, then they could score between a 30-25. If a student did not contribute to a discussion in such a way, then the highest score would be a 20.
Revised Grading Rubric

30-Student interacted with at least two others and contributions affected the discussion. Student cited other resources to support ideas or comments. Student responded in a positive and scholarly manner. Student was prompt to address others and to submit original work. Original posts and comments used grade-appropriate grammar and writing conventions.

25- Student interacted with at least two others and contributions affected the discussion. Student was prompt to address to others and to submit original work. Original posts and comments used grade-appropriate grammar and writing conventions. Student may or may not have included textual evidence or support ideas with outside resources.

20-Student interacted with others. Student contribution did not affect the discussion. Student may not have been prompt to address others and submit original work. Original post and comments may have contained grammar and writing conventions errors. Student may or may not have included textual evidence or support ideas with outside resources.

15-Student did not interact with others nor did student contribution affect the discussion. Student may not have been prompt to address others or submit original work. Original post and comments may have contained grammar and writing conventions errors. Student may or may not have included textual evidence or support ideas with outside resources.

0- Nothing was submitted.

 Reflect on what you have learned this week. What have you learned that has the potential to inform or influence you or your practice of online learning going forward? Explain why.
I am so glad that we are beginning a new trimester in Elementary School next week so I could start implementing online discussion more rigorously in my classroom. The rubric I created for this task will be modified to a four-point scale and I will begin implementing a discussion deadline for certain content areas. For this new trimester, I will set clear discussion/blog guidelines for students so there isn’t any confusion about what they should do. I will use many of the points addressed by Dunlap in the article we read: http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/CUOnline/FacultyResources/additionalResources/Handbook/Documents/GuidelinesEffectiveDiscussions.pdf, specifically number 5. Last week, I included the discussion summary aspect with them, which was not very organized. One idea I have is to use Google Classroom to assign the blog summary, create and share a table that contains three discussion reflection questions that they will respond to. That would be the document I use for grading, and it would be far more organized for me, rather than having students all email me!

ETEC 648 Session 6

ETEC 648 Week 6

Give three purposes for grading in an online class. Explain each one and then provide an example or guideline for accomplishing each purpose.

Dr. Newberry highlighted some excellent rational behind grading. First, grading provides a means to measure and encourage student engagement. Instructors can monitor discussion boards or blog posts to keep track of how much student-to-student interaction is occurring. It is known that students learn most when they are active in academic discourse. Secondly, Dr. Newberry stated, grading can be used as a guide to shape student performance. Grading is an opportunity for the instructor to provide much needed feedback to students and either deepen understandings or encourage students to apply what was taught into projects that are meaningful to them. A third purpose for grading in an online class that Dr. Newberry discussed is motivation. Through grading, students are motivated to complete tasks when there is a grade attached to the end of it. Small, frequent tasks keep students engaged and motivated to be actively involved in the learning process.

You have been called to consult with a university, which is about to create a brand new totally online graduate program in leadership education. As part of your consultation you have been asked to provide a short written policy (for the student and instructor handbooks) related to grading policy. List (bullet list) the top five issues your policy will address.

  • Due Dates: These must be rigid in order to keep to the course syllabus and provide feedback in a timely manner.
  • Late Penalties: Modest penalties will help students not take advantage of your grading policy should you allow late work to be submitted.
  • Revision Attempts: Being learner-centered, it is important that students know that their work is valuable to you and that you expect them to improve their understanding over the course of time and modify submissions accordingly.
  • Grade Weighting: Shorter assignments may not be weighted as heavily as a final exam.
  • Extra Credit: Some professors will offer extra credit points which will provide learning opportunities beyond the course of study and points to off-set assignments where full credit was not given.

As part of the consultation with the university on creating an online program you have been asked to create a rubric that can be used across all program classes to grade the online discussions. The idea is to provide a single rubric that is generalized enough to provide a guide for student engagement in the discussion, and for instructors to be able to grade the discussions with a minimum of effort. Students in these classes are all professional educators with a college education. Each class is required to have one discussion each week and the discussion is the only planned method for student-student interaction in the class. It has been decided that discussions will be worth 30 points and this represents 30% of the total points available in the session. The rubric you create must be simple for the instructor to use but specific enough so that students clearly understand what they are to do and why they get the grade they receive.

Grading Rubric:

30: Student interacted with at least two students and cited textual evidence when contributing to discussion. Student responded in a positive and scholarly manner to comments directed to them. Student was prompt to address others and to submit original work. Original posts and comments used grade-appropriate grammar and writing conventions.

25: Student interacted with at least two students and cited textual evidence when contributing to discussion. Student responded to comments directed to them. Student was a day late to address others or to submit original work. Original posts and comments mostly used grade-appropriate grammar and writing conventions.

20: Student interacted with one student and cited textual evidence when contributing to discussion. Student did not respond promptly to comments directed to them. Student was a day late to address others or to submit original work. Original posts and comments did not use grade-appropriate grammar and writing conventions.

15: Student did not interact with other students but posted original work on time. Original post and comments used grade-appropriate grammar and writing conventions. Must be revised.

0: Nothing was submitted.

Choose a topic that is familiar to you and create three excellent learning objectives. Explain why the objectives you create are excellent.

Objectives help design a course and help ensure that the activities you develop serve as a role in the learning outcome. Objectives could be generalized goals, which allow flexibility in the learning process for students. The following objectives are excellent examples of generalized goals at various levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy for Social Studies: Ancient Egypt.

  • Students will compare and contrast the roles of men and women in Ancient Egyptian societies.
  • Students will determine the most influential technological advancements of the Ancient Egyptians.
  • Students will discuss how the belief system contributed to the Egyptian societies.

Describe an eLearning activity that will have students meet one or more of the objectives you just created.

Below is an example of an activity I have assigned to my students in Google Classroom. They are required to create an actual poster for their assignment, though.

Think like a Historian

You are an expert historian on a certain aspect of Ancient Egypt. Your job is to reveal all the facts about Ancient Egypt. Your focus is on one of the GRAPES (Geography, Religion, achievements, politics, economics, society).

What to do:

  1. Select one of the GRAPES to focus on.
  2. Create a poster or electronic presentation to reveal all of the facts about your focus.
  3. Due Date: Tuesday, November 18th  

Expert Ideas:

  • For geography: create a poster of a map of Ancient Egypt that includes precise locations of landforms and waterways.
  • For Politics: create a poster to illustrate the political structure of the time. Include information about famous rulers or leader or battles.
  • For Achievements: create a poster that includes illustrations of the major achievements of the people in this civilization.

Explain how you will grade the student work in the above activity. For example you may want to provide a rubric or describe other methods used.

Below is the rubric that I attached to the assignment for my students. Our school uses a four-point grading scale for report cards so almost all assignments follow that scale.

Scoring Rubric

  1. Student did not submit a finished product/poster.
  2. Student worked to complete a poster but work was not accurate. The product was difficult to understand or lacked creativity.
  3. Student worked to complete an accurate poster. It was clear what GRAPES. Creativity was evident.
  4. Student worked to complete an accurate poster. It was evident that the student made a careful effort to make the poster appealing to the eye and to use creativity.

Explain how you will provide feedback to the student in the above activity. Include an example of your feedback if possible.

Since this is an assignment within Google Classroom, students will submit a note to verify that they completed the task. As I grade their posters, I will open Google Classroom and record the grade for them. When I return the assignment, it prompts me to provide feedback. That is where I could comment on the accuracy and creativity of their work.

Sample Feedback responses:

  • (Student name), it was evident that you made an effort to attend to precision and supply important facts about Ancient Egyptian (GRAPES). To improve your final product, you could _______.
  • (Student name), I appreciate that you submitted your work on time. To improve your final product, you could use your textbook or other sources to attend to precision and supply facts about Ancient Egyptian (GRAPES).

Quote your best entry from this week’s Blackboard discussion. Explain why you chose it and what it demonstrates about your understanding, learning process etc.

I was not very active on Blackboard this week. I did notice that Christen was very active and I responded to her initial posting regarding providing feedback for online students’ writing.

Hi Christen,

I have not experimented with using editing symbols digitally. As far as providing feedback to my students online, we use Google Documents a lot since our school district has given all students k-12 a Google account through rusdlearns.net. When I assign a writing prompt through Google Classroom, students are able to work on their docs and submit through there directly. Then, when I begin the grading process, I open each doc, and can use suggested comments or just highlight and then comment. This has been a great tool to provide feedback to my students on their writing. It’s the equivalent to marking and commenting on their papers. Also, in Google Classroom, I can set the grading scale, grade the paper, and then return it. They can check back for their comments and grades.

Identify the student you think was the most important participant in the Blackboard discussion. Explain why and provide at least one quote from that student’s contributions to the Blackboard discussion.

Definitely, Christen was highly involved in this week’s discussion. She started the conversation in the Promise and Problems of Grading thread. Her initial post included information about what she is utilizing for her own students as how this week’s topic relates back Teaching Presence.

How do I provide online editing symbols directly on a paper?  Like this-  editing symbols.png Even if there is an App (which I haven’t been able to find), it seems like it would be very time consuming.  

This is off topic, but I want to share since it is part of grading-  One thing I LOVE is Safe Assign.  It’s an option on BB and where students submit their work on SA, and it scans the paper for plagiarism.  It highlights the suspected plagiarism and provides a link to the website where the info was copied.  It also gives a percentage of how much of the assignment is quoted or plagiarized.  Since I have a 25% or less max on quoting in essays, this really helps students see how much of their paper is simply copied and pasted.  It even shows me if that student or another student has turned the same paper into another class at my college or another college.  Students are blown away by this.  In class, I demonstrate a “test” of SA on the first assignment and show the whole class everything I see. We go through examples that show up highlighted as possible plagiarism and we look to see if the info is quoted and cited properly.  We also discuss cases where only a couple of words were changed and we discuss why this doesn’t qualify as paraphrasing and is in fact plagiarism.  It’s really the best tool I have found to teach citation and paraphrasing!   I honestly don’t know why more teachers aren’t using it.  It has drastically cut down my students plagiarizing and eliminated their denial when it does happen.  The one drawback- it can’t find translated info from foreign websites.

Grading links back to Teacher Presence.  My students are always shocked by the amount of comments and editing symbols on their first assignment.  I’m often disappointed with colleagues who simply write “good job” on a five page essay and give no explanation for the grade.  Part of teaching is giving feedback- both positive and negative.  Something I have really worked on this past couple of years is balancing positive feedback, so that it’s not overly negative.  Just as we need to know what not to do, it helps to know what we should keep doing well

Reflect on what you have learned this week. What have you learned that has the potential to inform or influence you or your practice of online learning going forward? Explain why.

As I move forward in the direction of utilizing Google Classroom, I am trying to find a way to incorporate more academic discourse and keep organized with it. I am developing new forms of assessment for my students, which they and I are not accustomed to. I also need to create a grading policy that is clear and that I can stick to across the disciplines of study.

 

ETEC 648 Session 5

 

For the following be sure to provide citations (URL’s etc.) for sources of information you consulted to answer each items as appropriate.

In your own words, define Instructional Presence.

Instructional Presence is facilitation of cognitive and social processes within an online course. The online facilitator is the responsible party for instructional presence, as through it, he or she organizes the course and moderates learning communities so that the courses outcomes can be met. Through this instructional presence, online students are aware that there is an instructor on the other end of their course material; there is an instructor who mapped out and designed the course; there is an instructor who reads student work and who will give feedback. Students are aware that a content expert is there, leading them to seek the knowledge that is set in the learning objectives. The instructor delivers his or her own personal touch to course material, within comments and feedback, and through activities. Because of an instructional presence, students will strive, in the course of study, to complete tasks, engage in academic discourse, and explore topics further in order to build new or solidify existing knowledge.


Name three things that your instructor identifies as contributing to Instructional Presence. Explain why these are, or are not consistent with your definition of Instructional Presence.

In the document titled, Instructional Presence, Effective Communication and Motivation, Dr. Newberry identified three contributing factors to effective instructional presence. According to Dr. Newberry, the result of a well-cultivated instructional presence include increased student confidence, increased student motivation, better student performance and provides the instructor a greater sense of satisfaction.

  • Authentic Communication-This is real communication. Dr. Newberry wrote that, in our course, he likes to interact with each student at least one time during the week, even if that one time is via the grade report through email. Communication with students should not be forced. Rather, communication should be real, whether within the discussion boards or through email. Students should begin to see the instructor’s personality as the course develops. As an online student, I can confirm that this is definitely a contributing factor to my feeling of success during a course. Just that simple, “10/10 you did a fine job” from an instructor on the designated grading day relieves some of the stress I go through. I really appreciate it, in a weird way, when my professor probes me to rethink or dig deeper after I have submitted my work. That lets me know that my instructor has read my work and took the time to help me improve what I have already done. That is something I am working on doing with my students who have been working on Google Classroom. It’s different for them than what I am experiencing as a student because I am still in my students’ physical presence when they are working online. I do return their assignments with suggested comments to improve their work, but I haven’t taken it a step beyond. I am still trying to figure out what that next step would be.
  • Multiple Forms of Communication- Newberry discusses a variety of media an instructor could use in order to engage in communication and course delivery. The purpose of integrating multiple forms is to accommodate student preference. For instance, a discussion board may be useful for a certain course, while a blog may work better for another. As a student, I would rather have one form of student-to-student communication. The reason is that I am not a highly organized person and sometimes I can’t remember who I engaged with on a discussion board and who I engaged with on a blog, who commented to me on either platform, or whether there was someone I missed during the week. I find myself seeing comments addressed to me, and if I am not prepared to respond when I see it, I forget where to respond to when I am ready. Within my classroom, I have introduced both. Google Classroom has a comment feature which serves as a discussion board while kidblog.org provides a free blogging service that keeps their blogs within one safe space. I have not utilized the discussion board platform as much, but have found that my students enjoy kidblog.org because they are reading the work of their peers and commenting on them.
  • Smaller Chunks of Communication- Like with food, it is easier to digest smaller bites. More research needs to be done in this area; however, Dr. Newberry noted that we are moving toward a “less reading is better” trend. Therefore, try to keep emails shorter or even integrate video messages rather than text messages to relay information to students. The section that resonated with me was using video messages. In this course, Dr. Newberry has integrated the use of mp3 voice messages of his Word documents. I have enjoyed those because I could cook dinner as I am listening to my lesson! I have been interested in doing something similar to my class because I know they would be engaged in a similar way. For a sixth grader, seeing your teacher on a video or hearing their voice in a podcast is “cool.” On my goorulearning.org collections, my image appears when the directions pop up, and they all make a big deal about it. Last year, students who participated in my small math group, were very attentive to videos I created using the ExplainEverything application on the iPad. Those reactions make me interested in integrating voice messages for my own students.

Who are the researchers most often identified with the construct of “Teaching Presence”?

Various articles cite the work collaborative work of Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, and Archer, Assessing teacher presence in a computer conferencing context (2001). Garrison and Anderson’s textbook, E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Framework for Research and Practice is also among the common cited written works in the field. Garrison also collaborated with Akyol on various research studies such as The development of a community of inquiry over time in an online course: Understanding the progression and integration of social, cognitive and teaching presence (2008), as cited by Dianne Conrad, and The impact of course duration on the development of a community of inquiry (2011). Overall, the names I have encountered most when researching “teaching presence” has been Garrison, Anderson, Archer, and Rourke as they were the group who coined the terms of cognitive, social, and instructional/teaching presence within a Community of Inquiry.


What are the three types of presence that Teaching Presence requires? Name and describe each.

Randy Garrison identified three elements of teaching presence in the textbook, E-Learning 21st Century: A Framework for Research and Practice.

Design and Organization- An online instructor must have the course organized from the beginning. This provides structure for the learning experience, similar to what is expected in a face-to-face course. Garrison wrote, “the design work at the front end of a course of studies will pay considerable dividends during the course of study” (Garrison, 2011, p.57). Garrison furthered this topic by explaining that online learners need an influence or example of what online collaboration looks like if that is what an instructor intends to occur. This being my fourth quarter as an online student, I have witnessed both ends of the spectrum when it comes to teaching presence and course design. I would say that there is a lack of teaching presence when learning material documents a professor adds to our reading lists do not have current quarter dates, leading me to presume that the same material is used over and over again and not necessarily tailored to our course or our times. Something as simple as addressing our class with the correct course title and section number allows me to know, as a student, that the instructor is organized and is there for us as a class.

Facilitating Discourse- Teaching presence requires attention to various areas including reflection and discourse for the purpose of building understanding of concepts. In e-Learning, there is a focus on text-based communication and learning, therefore, there is a huge demand for quality communication between peers and monitoring by the instructor. Garrison wrote, “teaching presence must be as concerned with cognitive development as with a positive learning environment, and it must see content, cognition, and context as integral parts of the whole” (Garrison, 2011, p. 59). In my e-Learning experience, some of my instructors have been exemplary models of monitoring and facilitating discourse. For example, one professor will join in discussion boards and probe students to seek deeper understanding or give feedback within discussions to affirm that the thoughts are on the right track.

Direct Instruction- Some of the examples of direct instruction indicators that Garrison describes in his Framework for e-Learning include:

  • Presenting content/questions
  • Focus the discussion on specific issues
  • Summarizing the discussion
  • Confirming understanding through assessment and explanatory feedback
  • Diagnosing misconceptions
  • Inject knowledge from diverse sources
  • Responding to technical concerns

I have witnessed both ends of the spectrum of teaching presence through direct instruction. For instance, I have a professor who uses one textbook, gave “right there” comprehension questions, and will hold a final at the end of the quarter based on the knowledge gained from the text. There are no extra supplemental material, or outside readings. For me, that course is dry. On the other hand, courses like this one has a set of reading material, webpages, audio messages, and built in collaboration which serve as evidence that an instructor is present.


Choose one of the three types of presence named in item #4 and identify ways and instructor can create or improve this type of presence in an online class.

Facilitating Discourse- After reading what Garrison noted as indicators of teaching presence, other student suggestions, and the article, Effective Online Communication by Michelle Schwartz(website provided below), I have narrowed down some ways to improve teaching presence in an online course.

Initial Teaching Presence On-going Teaching Presence
  • Present content Questions
  • Create a Focus topic or Issue
  • Inject knowledge through a variety of resources (journals, webpages, videos, podcasts)
  • Foster a warm environment
  • Model how to post by being the first to post
  • Summarize the discussion
  • Encourage students to respond to one another
  • Confirm understanding through feedback
  • Diagnose misconceptions
  • Respond to technical concerns
  • Acknowledge responses
  • Respond to posts that resonate to you
  • Model how to give quality feedback
  • Ask probing questions

http://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/lt/resources/handouts/Online_Communication.pdf


Explain how the readings this week (and your own research) connects with the Blackboard discussion.

This week’s goal was “To examine issues related to Instructional Presence, communication and motivation.” I was unclear on whether I was to respond to both questions or just the one, so my focus was on Instructional Presence. We were given a webpage and two PDF articles to digest that discussed facilitating discourse, injecting knowledge using multi-media, and keeping students engaged. These readings along with some of my own research helped me solidify my understanding of what an instructor’s role is throughout an online course.


Quote your best entry from this week’s Blackboard discussion. Explain why you chose it and what it demonstrates about your understanding, learning process etc.

I chose to share my response to my contributions to Christen’s initial post in the Instructional Presence thread on the discussion board. When reading about teaching presence, I learned that the instructor should have organized the course before the course begins, however, it is also effective to gain feedback from students to determine whether the organization was blended and balanced well to promote learning. I teach my students all year long (181 days) so there is always room for flexibility and change to meet my students’ needs. In a ten-week course, I could see Jeff’s point, it could become tedious and time consuming to make customize a course to meet the needs of each individual student.

 Laura:

I agree with Christen that you have a great balance of contributing to the discussion without dominating. As I read the articles about teaching presence, I could see the efforts you make to accomplish this. (Not sucking up.🙂 ) After taking approximatly 20 online courses, I feel most connected to the instructor, other students, and the content in your classes. Also, interestingly enough, I have made connections with other students that have transcended the class. I keep in touch with a few students that I “met” in the first class I took at CSUSB (541, I think). Some I have never met face to face. So, I look back on my experiences with online courses and images come to mind of things instructors do and don’t do that I can view as what not to do. As, I have models of what- to do.

One comment that resonated with me was ” Try to design activities where they can spend more time learning and less time trying to figure out what to do to learn.” (Newberry) A certain class I am currently taking requires massive amounts of time to read pages of directions for an assignment. When I am finished reading it, I am confused. I am sure the instructor thinks his Module 3 Step 1 Part 2, etc. instructions are simple to follow. However, to me, it is like solving a puzzle. Students in my assigned group seem to feel the same way.

Going forward there are several things that I will try to implement in my online classes:

  • Clear, concise directions
  • Student-Instructor interaction at the content level, discussions, rapid and authentic feedback to students
  • Construct and support a form for student-student interaction
  • Monitor the difficulty and volume of work (It can be rigorous, engaging, and challanging without overwhelming the student so that they give up.)
  • Rapid response to questions and concerns

Laura

Me:

Hi Laura!

How’s Module 3, Step 2a and Step 3x going? Talk about an overwhelming course that wouldn’t be so overwhelming if it were just organized a bit nicer. This goes back to what Christen wrote, teacher presence is evident before the course begins. Garrison wrote that design should not be separated from delivery. It is important, as an online instructor, to gain feedback from students at some point during the course, in order to evaluate the design and structure and provide modifications if necessary. I appreciate the list of how you will try to implement your online classes. Those are all effective and practical strategies that I will aim to meet as well.

Jeff:

Margarita:

Would you use mid-course online surveys?

In the past I was able to acquire an email address list of trainees and proceeded to do a pre-course intro to survey for info on their backgrounds, experience, expectations,… All in all I was able to tweak the course a little bit. They appreciated the teaching presence; but that type of customization is time consuming for the facilitator/trainer.

Of course potential issues can occur when there are last minute signups or no-shows. It is difficult to measure ROI on customization efforts.

Jeff

Me:

Hi Jeff,
I actually haven’t used a formal survey to gain feedback from students, but on kidblog, I began a simple thread where the focus question is “what do you like about sixth grade and what is something that could change to make the year more enjoyable?” I am taking into account the age of my students and their need for teacher approval, but most of my students who have responded said they would like more time to finish tasks. I look at these responses as valuable feedback. Like you said, it could be tedious, but a little change in my instruction or organization may help my students achieve and learn more in the long run. I’m interested to learn if any elementary school teachers actually use a mid-year survey to gain student feedback.


Identify the student you think was the most important participant in the Blackboard discussion. Explain why and provide at least one quote from that student’s contributions to the Blackboard discussion.
Laura Mitobe always grasps my attention during our course discussions. I don’t know if it’s because we have shared so many courses together or because of her vast experience in education and e-learning. The quote above (in number 7) really resonated with me because she supplied her own checklist of how to engage in effective teaching presence within her own designed courses. I find her work extremely valuable.


Reflect on what you have learned this week. What have you learned that has the potential to inform or influence you or your practice of online learning going forward? Explain why.Through the readings, I have gained the understanding that a variety of methods to infuse knowledge to my students must be used in order to keep students engaged. When I was writing my response for the second question in this blog, I reflected on what my students find interesting. This isn’t to toot my own horn, but I have found that when my photo or my voice is attached to instructions, students seem to engage a bit more than when they are given a blank screen. In my sixth grade classroom, when students work online, they are still in my physical presence, so I am able to see and hear their reactions. I think that when students see or hear me attached to the instructions they are given on the screen, it adds a level of authenticity and importance to what they are going to engage in. Using audio recordings and video recordings is something I have to be open to because I am quite camera shy!


Work Cited

Akyol, Z., Vaughan, N., & Garrison, D. R. (2011). The impact of course duration on the development of a community of inquiry. Interactive Learning Environments, 19(3), 231–246. doi:10.1080/10494820902809147

Cognitive, Instructional, and Social Presence as Factors in Learners’ Negotiation of Planned Absences from Online Study | Conrad | The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2014, from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/630/1261

Díaz, L. A., & Entonado, F. B. (2009). Are the Functions of Teachers in e-Learning and Face-to-Face Learning Environments Really Different? Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 12(4), 331–343.

Dixon, M. (2010). Creating effective student engagement in online courses: What do students find engaging? Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 10(2), 1–13.

Effective Online Communication – Online_Communication.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/lt/resources/handouts/Online_Communication.pdf

Face-to-Face or Online Instruction? Face-to-Face is Better. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2014, from http://www.natcom.org/commcurrentsarticle.aspx?id=884

Garrison, D. R. (2011). E-learning in the 21st century a framework for research and practice. New York: Routledge.

Skramstad, E., College, S. N., & Orellana, A. (2012). Teaching Presence and Communication Timeliness in Asynchronous Online Courses. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 13(3), 183–188.

Sull, E. (2008, November 28). Overcoming the #1 Complaint of Online Students: Poor Instructor Feedback Faculty Focus | Faculty Focus. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/distance-learning/overcoming-the-1-complaint-of-online-students-poor-instructor-feedback/

 

Week 4: Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography

The articles below are about a topic of personal interest. Being a graduate student in the Instructional Technology program, I have learned about the importance of reflective thinking and assessment. I am interested to find what the research says about creating rubrics and efficiently assessing blogs as a source of reflective thinking for younger students. Some of the articles below pertain to creating and using rubrics while others pertain to the use of blogs to assess learning. I determined that both areas needed to be researched in order to create my final product. I need to determine the criteria of the blog before I can develop a rubric to assess the blog.

Keywords: assessing online learners; blogs; creating rubrics; evaluating blogs; developing assessments for online learners

Brookhart, S. M. (2013). Assessing Creativity. Educational Leadership, 70(5), 28–34.

Summary:

The author of this article explains the meaning of creativity in education and the value of creativity. Brookhart created a rubric as a means to communicate success to students, not as a means to create a grade. The categories in rubric to assess creativity include: variety of ideas and contexts, variety of sources, combining ideas, and communicating something new. The rubric had four points: very creative, creative, ordinary/routine, imitative. Susan Brookhart noted that by using rubrics to assess creativity, students are given quality feedback.

Review:

This article is extremely resourceful for my coursework because as I work towards creating a rubric to assess blogs in an online course, creativity must be addressed. I want to ensure that my student’s posts are authentic and from their perspective, not just copied and pasted lines from their text. The rubric that Brookhart developed is very simple: four categories and four points. I would like to create something as simple to use so my students know what to aim for when writing their blog posts.

Cameron, M. P. (2012). “Economics with Training Wheels”: Using Blogs in Teaching and Assessing Introductory Economics. Journal of Economic Education, 43(4), 397–407.

Summary:

The authors of this article describe the relevance of using blogs in an economics course. Since students are contributing their individual findings within a course, it fits well into a constructivist style of teaching. The use of blogs benefit all students in a course as the community of inquiry becomes active when students collaborate and share findings. The authors noted that an instructor should focus on assessing the quality of blog postings rather than quantity and that there was a positive correlation between blog participation and final exam scores. They also observed that using a blog as an assessment tool requires a significant commitment from the course instructor as he or she would need to moderate the blog, provide feedback, and encourage deeper thinking by supplying further questions. There also needs to be a student buy-in in order for blogs to flourish.

Review:

My intention for my project is to create a rubric as a tool to assess blog posts within an online digital citizenship course. This article will help me with my project because it has supplied me with more insight as to what categories I will use when creating my rubric. I am taking into account that blog quality should be valued over quantity of posts.

Dietz-Uhler, B., & Lanter, J. R. (2009). Using the Four-Questions Technique to Enhance Learning. Teaching of Psychology, 36(1), 38–41. doi:10.1080/00986280802529327

Summary:

 In this study, the authors designed a four-question technique that encourages student to analyze, reflect, relate, and question the material they are learning in order to promote content retention. They designed a form that students would complete about the studied material, which included the four questions. The four questions are generic and may be used in a variety of topics of study. Participants in this study were paired and used a web-based interactive activity. The four questions included: 1. Identify one important concept, research finding, theory, or idea in psychology that you learned while completing this activity; 2. Why do you believe that this concept, research finding, theory, or idea in psychology is important?; 3. Apply what you have learned from this activity to some aspect of your life; 4. What question(s) has this activity raised for you? What are you still wondering about? In this study, students were either given the four questions before or after the quiz on the interactive activity. The results showed that students performed better on the quiz when they completed the questions first. The results of this study suggest that when students take the time to think and elaborate on learned material in multiple ways, the comprehension of the material improves and they perform better on tests.

Review:

As I work towards developing a rubric for evaluating blog content, I need to also develop the requirements of the blog content. This article gave me ideas about the criteria I will incorporate in the blog development. I may use the four questions as a starting point.

Petkov, D., Petkova, O., D’Onofrio, M., & Jarmoszko, A. T. (2008). Using Projects Scoring Rubrics to Assess Student Learning in an Information Systems Program. Journal of Information Systems Education, 19(2), 241–252.

Summary:

Student portfolios are used as a means for course assessment because they contain artifacts of student coursework. Therefore, a standardized rubric must be in place in order to evaluate the quality of these projects. A rubric serves as uniform tool to measure student performance. This article presented a methodology for using standardized rubrics for measuring student achievement in interrelated courses in an academic program. The authors noted that using scoring rubrics provide students with a view of what matters most in a project and how their work will be judged. The authors also pointed out that there is a difference between using rubrics to assess generic skills and using rubrics for specific subject matter understanding. Rubrics are most valuable when they are specific to a task. The authors provided eight steps in the methodology of developing a rubric for a course.

  1. Identify how the learning outcomes for each course relate to the program’s academic goals.
  2. Define a uniform set of criteria for assessment of student projects in selected courses of the program.
  3. Customize the specific criteria and sub-criteria that reflect the nature of a particular course, while keeping the number and nature of sub-criteria the same across courses.
  4. Define appropriate degrees of student performance for each criterion in the rubric.
  5. Communicate the rubric to students at the start of the project.
  6. Use the rubric for rating the achievement of each team on every criterion evidenced through the completed project artifacts.
  7. Calculate the average rating on each criterion.
  8. Use the total rating for comparison of each team’s performance in a course of student teams in different courses across the program and apply the results for improvement of student learning and teaching practices.

Review:

This article further reinforced that a rubric would be needed to evaluate the blog posts that I am going to incorporate as an assessment tool for an online course. I will use the first seven steps in the methodology for creating and developing a rubric as described in this article. However, because the blog posts will not be the only assessment tool in the course I am developing, I will not create sub-categories in order to keep it simple for my sixth graders.

Thaler, N., Kazemi, E., & Huscher, C. (2009). Developing a Rubric to Assess Student Learning Outcomes Using a Class Assignment. Teaching of Psychology, 36(2), 113–116. doi:10.1080/00986280902739305

Summary:

In this study, the researchers wanted to develop a rubric that was simpler than one created by Halonen for psychology students in 2003. The previous rubric was comprehensive, broad, and incorporated elements to assess such as communication, collaboration, self-inquiry, and scientific inquiry skills. The rubric Halonen developed was meant to assess students throughout the course or the year. The researchers in this project noted that Halonen’s rubric was multidimensional and required much effort to effectively use it. Therefore, they developed a simpler rubric that could be used on specific assignments rather than one rubric for all assignments in a school year. The authors developed a rubric based on the criteria of the Publication Manual of the American Psychology Association and it was designed to measure the degree to which students achieved the Student Learning Objectives (SLO’s) of their department.

The method included randomly selected students enrolled in research methods courses and their final papers. The authors chose ten items to assess four SLOs” the use of interpretation of statistical techniques, critical thinking skills and skeptical inquiry in evaluating their own and others’ research, competencies in electronic and information technologies, and effective written communication skills. Each category had a 6-point Likert scale. The procedure for this study included the recruitment of two raters who gave feedback on the rubric drafts. A focus group of faculty members initially developed the rubric. One of the limitations to creating a specific rubric as in this study was that raters and faculty members may score all areas low based on the quality of the paper and not actually stick to the rubric if most of the categories on the rubric were specific to writing quality.

Review:

 The findings in this article have guided me toward the development of my own rubric that I will create to assess blogs in an online course. As noted in this study, I will need to develop multiple categories in my rubric so that student’s blogs are not only scored based on writing quality. I might want to include research and blog content.

Full Work Cited

Andrade, H. L., Wang Xiaolei, Du Ying, & Akawi, R. L. (2009). Rubric-Referenced Self-Assessment and Self-Efficacy for Writing. Journal of Educational Research, 102(4), 287–301. doi:10.3200/JOER.102.4.287-302

Annetta, L., Klesath, M., & Meyer, J. (2009). Taking Science Online: Evaluating Presence and Immersion through a Laboratory Experience in a Virtual Learning Environment for Entomology Students. Journal of College Science Teaching, 39(1), 27–33.

Brookhart, S. M. (2013). Assessing Creativity. Educational Leadership, 70(5), 28–34.

Cameron, M. P. (2012). “Economics with Training Wheels”: Using Blogs in Teaching and Assessing Introductory Economics. Journal of Economic Education, 43(4), 397–407.

Cowan, J. E. (2008). Strategies for Planning Technology-Enhanced Learning Experiences. Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 82(2-), 55–59.

Dietz-Uhler, B., & Lanter, J. R. (2009). Using the Four-Questions Technique to Enhance Learning. Teaching of Psychology, 36(1), 38–41. doi:10.1080/00986280802529327

Hamann, K., Pollock, P. H., & Wilson, B. M. (2012). Assessing Student Perceptions of the Benefits of Discussions in Small-Group, Large-Class, and Online Learning Contexts. College Teaching, 60(2), 65–75.

Petkov, D., Petkova, O., D’Onofrio, M., & Jarmoszko, A. T. (2008). Using Projects Scoring Rubrics to Assess Student Learning in an Information Systems Program. Journal of Information Systems Education, 19(2), 241–252.

Rhodes, T. L. (2011). Making Learning Visible and Meaningful through Electronic Portfolios. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 43(1), 6–13.

Shea, P., Hayes, S., Smith, S. U., Vickers, J., Bidjerano, T., Gozza-Cohen, M., … Tseng, C.-H. (2013). Online Learner Self-Regulation: Learning Presence Viewed through Quantitative Content- and Social Network Analysis. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 14(3), 427–461.

Taylor, J. (2012). The Assessment of Critical Evaluation, Leadership and Reflection Skills through Participation in Online Discussions. Psychology Teaching Review, 18(2), 52–58.

Thaler, N., Kazemi, E., & Huscher, C. (2009). Developing a Rubric to Assess Student Learning Outcomes Using a Class Assignment. Teaching of Psychology, 36(2), 113–116. doi:10.1080/00986280902739305

Vonderwell, S. (2004). Assessing Online Learning and Teaching: Adapting the Minute Paper. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 48(4), 29–31.

Whittaker, C. R., Salend, S. J., & Duhaney, D. (2001). Creating Instructional Rubrics for Inclusive Classrooms. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 34(2-), 8–13.

ETEC 648-Fall 2014