On 11/9/17 at 11:00am, I presented at the Wake Technical Community College Fall Professional Development Conference at the Session Gamification In The Classroom in the Engineering Technology Building in Raleigh, NC. This was co-presented by Tyler Dockery and Nicolas D’Agata of Wake Technical Community College
Gamification In The Classroom
In this presentation, we will cover 4 basic topics:
This presentation is part of a grant we ran in 2014, discussing the reason behind what we did, the lessons we learned, and how you might be able to integrate these ideas in your classroom. This grant was proposed and monies set aside to train and develop gamified systems in low-performing courses in the WEB curriculum model. In this first part, we will discuss some of these results.
When Things Go Poorly
LATE NIGHT ACCESS TO THE INSTRUCTOR
Story Form Engagement
By taking the students through the materials one item at a time, student were exposed to a story in serialized form. Each decision allowed student to take quizzes and open things like a choose-your-own-adventure book. A strict list of deliverables were noting requirements each week, and each was made available one item at a time with encouraging messages and explanations. Great artwork moved them through the story with chunked information.
Chocolate Covered Broccoli
Students mentioned in exit interviews that the course was exciting for the first 8 weeks or less only. After 8 weeks, the gamification storyline began to become less exciting and more filler content which stopped them from getting to the real meat of the course. Students who missed assignments or failed to turn them in missed content, stating that they could not follow the story any more. Students who did not read the course material failed to understand that there were minimum quiz grades and found they were flunking early in the semester, and many chose to drop.
After the midterm, many students said that they were facing fatigue. Too many classes, too many projects, and they admitted that by week 9 they were simply skipping over the content to get to the work. One student mentioned very specifically: “I didn’t read the story after the midterm. I just wanted to get my work done and find out what the next item on the list was and get my grade.”
Seems like building out all the dependencies and choose-your-own-adventure story lines were really some wasted time and effort. Scores did increase, but the story was not engaging. After
Second Time Is The Charm
In WEB141 Mobile Interface Design, students found that they were highly disengaged with the class, noting that book materials were very paint-by-number, and had little to do with real life problems. Students found it difficult to tell where they in the class, with scores for midterms, finals, and assignments clearly defined, but still hard to calculate where students should put their efforts. Student who fell behind in online courses felt that they could not gain any headway, and messing up on a project or two when coupled with the midterm left them flat with no way to raise their grade.
To combat the issue, Nic D’Agata looked at the data and changed his tactics to better meet student needs.
GAMIFICATION AT THEIR WILL
Since students in the first class found that the gamification content was a distraction, Nic built his material as an overlay. Content for the course changed little, with the gamification built over the top. Students had the option to ignore the gamification elements without detriment to the course content.
QUICK GAUGE OF PROGRESS
Many students found they could not tell which items were best for their grades, and the best uses of their time. Nic installed a system of “Money” earned through the course of the semester. Each week offered one or more project. Each project was a contract with a client, offering money for project which met the minimum requirements, and greater funds for projects which excel. Students were given the goal to reach $1 million by the end of the semester.
Nic also included a leaderboard where students could see their progress compared to other students. No names were given, so no privileged information is released, but it could encourage students to work harder if they’re in the wrong spot.
INCREASE RANK AT THE STUDENTS’ CHOICE
Students often found that getting behind was like getting in a hole too deep to get out of. At strategic points in the semester, students were treated to “Freelance” options, where they could troubleshoot existing code and earn money to increase their monetary income. This was essentially enrichment activities where students could increase their understanding or take on additional work to increase their grades.
RECOGNITION FOR A JOB WELL DONE
Using blackboard achievements and badges, students would be automatically notified of “industry recognition”. Students could see the badges and gain an instant warm fuzzy for having some minor graphics provided to them.
On the right track
Overall, students reported that they felt more engaged in a course with open-ended projects and gamified elements.
Best of both worlds
Students enjoyed some open-ended projects and did not miss the “paint-by-numbers” approach. Some people really liked the 8-bit gaming platform of the course, and most people enjoyed the scoreboard/leaderboard process. This, along with the monetary system, was super-effective at motivating students
Nothing is ever perfect
The assistant is a moving digital display which lays out the information needed in each lesson. In some lessons this outlines projects, in others, it outlines specifics about the learning methods. While only a small number found it detrimental, it was almost a 50/50 split on Liking/Not Caring for the assistant.
The leaderboard answered questions that many students had about their grades, their places in the class, and provided some good motivation. The material was helpful to most students, with many students noting it as a prime motivator. Some students (about 1-2 per semester) found the leaderboard to be a source of anxiety causing them to worry about their location in the class.
The Leaderboard was a simple tool plugin, and could quite easily be coded into your classes.
Hands-On Leaderboard Addition Demonstration
At this point in the presentation, Nicolas answered questions about adding in the leaderboard. Using HTML code directly in his blackboard course, Nic added the leaderboard in to an older course as a demonstration. It was complicated, but well-received.
SHOW AND TELL IS OVER
At this point, we’ve talked about our personal experiences, so lets begin some insight into how you can add this to your classes.
Blackboard Badging and Certificates
The blackboard badging and certificate systems are available to all current blackboard shells. They can both be accessed through the TOOLS menu options on the lefthand side. You can work with existing items, create your own, make your own certifications, etc. They are easily created, and can easily integrate with your course shells at any time.
At this time, we created a shown, in-person demonstration on the overhead.
The services we showed at the end of the material allowed us to include Quizlet materials for easy self-study materials, online games like Play Brighter or Virtonomics, advanced tools like Duolingo, or creating your own badges and materials with OpenBadges. The material was well received, and we did a few extra demonstrations on how to include teaching materials from duplingo, integrating quizlet, and Q&A was fairly sedate.
At 11:00am On 11/8/16 I attended Curriculum Design: The Missing Link Between Learning Outcomes and Online Course Syllabi presented by Laura March at the 2016 USCA NDLW Virtual Conference.
Curriculum Design: The Missing Link Between Learning Outcomes and Online Course Syllabi
In this virtual session, Laura March taught us how to use a Curriculum Design Document to transform the process of course development. While building an online class can be difficult for both new instructors and seasoned professors, this process purports to allow course developers to easily align teaching methodologies with activities and assessments. Participants in this interactive session applied the Curriculum Design Documents to their own work in order to facilitate active learning and challenge the lecture-and-quiz format typical of ineffectively-designed courses.
Throughout the conversation, Laura called out for everyone to add their thoughts to the discussion. When calling for other helpful resources, we noted that Quality Matters is a fine system, and Facultyfocus.com ( http://www.facultyfocus.com will open in a separate window).
Other topics included how schools should check in on previously-trained online instructors, or the process of teaching online in general. A general concensus was that this was a topic well-ready for faculty to begin prepping for, and that while mandatory training is needed, few if anyone is ready to take ownership of this once it has been rolled out. Most people felt that lead instructors should be monitoring the online adjunct classes as a method to achieve that level of compliance and adjunct performance desired in the school.
Laura’s full presentation
As we worked through the presentation, Laura provided us with a curriculum design Document: curriculum design document for teachers by laura march.
Working through this briefly had some interesting effect on my thoughts, especially when she noted some examples of instructional strategies and offered the following links:
For examples and descriptions, consult the following resources:
• UT-Austin Learning Sciences
• Carnegie Mellon Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation
• Illinois Online Network’s Instructional Strategies for Online Courses
• Creating Inclusive Classrooms
She offered us a syllabus template that we could use, and we discussed how that might affect our classroom. I’ll attach it here: syllabustemplate_lauramarch. This item is not likely to be accessible, so didn’t have that great of an impact on me though.
Fifty Alternatives to Lecture
We completed our talk by discussing alternatives to boring presentation patterns that she enjoyed. These had been researched by J. Prusch and written and adapted by A.M. Pickett.
Almost any activity can be designed to be carried out in some way or another for an online course. Most important is that the instructor must set up the activity with all the supporting and explanatory documentation necessary for the students to understand fully what they are to do, when, where in the course they are to do it, what is expected specifically, and how they will be evaluated. Areas in the course must be designed and set up in advance by the instructor to account for and accommodate, explain, model, and evaluate each activity. Below are some ideas to get you thinking about what is possible and how. For help implementing any of these ideas in your course, contact your assigned instructional design partner.
1. Conduct an interview: A formal interview consists of a series of well-chosen questions (and often a set of tasks or problems) which are designed to elicit a portrait of a student’s understanding about a concept or set of related concepts. The interview may be conducted as an offline activity and videotaped or audiotaped for later analysis, or online asynchronously. Online course assignments and activities can be designed to prepare interview questions either as individual or small group activities.
2. Guest speaker: Instructors can bring additional expertise into the “classroom” in the form of virtual guest speakers. The instructor sets up a module or section in the course for the guest speaker, sets up the activity, introduces the guest speaker, requests web access for the guest speaker, and creates the kick off document for the guest speaker to use to start the discussion or presentation. The Guest then interacts in the course via the web.
3. Student led discussion: Often associated with ‘idea circles.’ These are peer-led, small group or whole class discussions of concepts fueled by single or multiple text sources. Students work together with a student leader to build abstract understandings from the facts, data, and details provided by a variety of resources. Variations include students assuming the role of the professor, asking guiding questions, & facilitating the discussion.
4. Student summaries: single sentence or paragraph. This simple technique challenges students to answer the questions “Who does what to whom, when, where, how, and why?” (represented by the letters WDWWWWHW) about a given topic, and then to synthesize those answers into a simple informative, grammatical, and long summary sentence. Can be used as a pop quiz. See below.
5. Pop a quiz: These quizzes can be used as “curve busters,” opportunities for students to earn extra points and improve their grades by answering questions correctly. Pop quizzes are unannounced and can be inserted at any time into any course module. A pop quiz section to each module with an explanatory document can alert students that a pop quiz might occur at any time. Information on the pop quiz aspect of the course should be clearly detailed in the course in formation documents of the course and in the module at a glance areas of module in which they are likely to occur.
6. Direct an observation: observations may include written field notes with detailed accounts of an event, objects or people observed. They run the gamut of disciplines from artistic to scientific observations. The observation is conducted as an offline activity (See related, Field Trip). Online course assignments and activities can be designed to prepare observation instruments either as individual or small group activities.
7. Brainstorming: This is a technique for generating new, useful ideas, and promoting creative thinking. It can be a very useful to help generate ideas for projects, encourage shy or reluctant students or solve problems. This can be conducted online as a small group discussion activity or with the class as a whole.
8. Build consensus: Students are expected to look for key themes of a given topic and post their position. Next students read others messages, look for an ideal framework and post a message supporting more than one position. In the following stage, students also post a message supporting more than one position. Finally, there is a debriefing, discussion and final evaluation. A specific example is the Jigsaw method. It is a useful for encouraging cooperation. In this technique students are arranged in “expert” groups, responsible for developing an approach to solving part of the problem. Students are then rearranged in “home” groups with one person from each of the expert groups and are expected to find an overall solution. This is then brought together by the instructor by having each group report their overall solution. This can be organized as an online activity using small groups. Careful planning, explanation, and course document set up is necessary to have this flow well and in a timely way. Tip: As an online activity, the best results are when the instructor assigns members to groups and assigns roles within the groups in advance, rather than letting student self select into groups, and workout roles.
9. Buzz groups: A group is divided into sub-groups of from 3 to 6 persons each for a brief period of time, to discuss an assigned topic or to solve a problem. A representative is sometimes selected from each sub-group to report the findings to the entire group. It allows for total participation by group members through small clusters of participants, followed by discussion of the entire group. It is used as a technique to get participation from every individual in the group. This activity is implemented online via small group discussion activities.
10. Case Histories: Case teaching presents authentic, concrete teaching problems for students to analyze. Teaching cases have long been a cornerstone of professional training in schools of business, law, and medicine. It provides models of how to think professionally about problems. Online case studies or histories can be set up as activities for individual or small group work.
11. Chain story, poem, article: The teacher begins e.g., ‘One morning Ben got up & went to work.’ A student is invited to continue with another sentence & so on round the class. You provide the linkers – ‘and then’, ‘so’, ‘next’, ….’ finally’; good for conditionals. Each person adds to what the previous person told, ending on a cliff-hanger phrase such as, “but suddenly…” or “but when he opened the door he saw…” and so on — the trick being to work the word in so that it fits the story. This works for poems, articles, and dialogue, too. This can be set up as an online activity either as a discussion with the class as a whole or in small groups. Every time a new person logs in to the course they add to the story…
12. Chain math or science problem: The teacher or a student poses a multi-staged problem which one student after another offers one step in its solution. This is done in small groups. Variation: students are given a list of solutions, and asked to create the problem to which it is the answer. The instructor gives guidance on what type of problem the solution is to. This can be set up as an online activity either as a written assignment with the “save for class” option and including the class as a whole or in small groups. Every time a new person logs in to the course they add a step to the solution or problem. The first person to save their response gets the credit for that level. Duplicate or concurrent respondents have to redo their response at a different level.
13. Charts: They can be used in a variety of ways in all disciplines, sometimes teacher- , other times student-generated to cover a vast array of topics. Closely related is the Categorizing Grid. Charts can be created using various software programs and attached to assignment documents for the instructor, for the class, or in small groups; both as stand alone documents or as supportive materials to a presentation or paper.
14. Chalkboards/Whiteboards: Teachers or students use these to outline, summarize, and highlight concepts and information. Online these can be created in Powerpoint or other graphics programs and attached as files to assignment documents. There are also tools that can be used synchronously online specifically for this purpose that may include capture and playback options as a feature.
15. Class created annotated bibliography: A glossary of various types of resources for any discipline. Using the Shared References Area and form students can be directed to regularly contribute a certain number of shared references to the class. As a directed learning activity the instructor can evaluate the student on the quantity of submissions, and require that the student include a summary of the resource as well as an evaluation of the resource. There are fields on the shared references form for summary and evaluation notes and to document the type of resource.
16. Conduct a survey: The teacher or students devise a survey instrument to use in or outside class. One example of a teacher-created survey is the attitude survey of students which provides valuable information on student perceptions of their online course experience, or as a mechanism to poll students on a particular course-related topic. Students can also work in small groups to design instruments that they then implement offline and return to the group or class to report on.
17. Debate: Informal debates encourage students to think critically about an issue or issues presented in class and allow for interactive class discussion. It is implemented by dividing students into two groups and assigning each a point of view to debate based on controversial material that had been presented in class. It is a pro-and-con discussion of a controversial issue. The objective is to convince the class (audience), rather than display skill in attacking the opponent. This can be done using the small group for preparation of the strategy of each side, and discussion areas for the actual presentation of the debate in the online course.
18. Demonstration: Teacher or students demonstrate a concept, procedure, or technique. This can be an online or offline activity. Online, it might be presented as a discussion with supporting documents or graphics. Offline, it might be video or audio taped to be turned into the instructor, with a section in the online course for reflections on the process. Or, a video or audio tape sent to the students by the instructor, with a section in the online course for reflections on the process.
19. Discussion: Lively online discussion fosters democratic participation and enhances learning. It emphasize participation, dialogue, and two-way communication. The discussion method is one in which the instructor and a group of students consider a topic, issue, theory, or problem and exchange information, experiences, ideas, opinions, reactions, and conclusions with one another. Teaching by online discussion can be an extremely effective means of helping students apply abstract ideas and think critically about what they are learning and how to use and evaluate online and other resources to support their positions. Variation: student – led online discussions. Online discussion questions work best that are open ended and provocative. Instructors need to make sure students understand what is expected and how they will be evaluated. Students must be clear on how to take a position and support it. See related, Questions and Answers.
20. Field trips: This strategy increases motivation and highlights the application of classroom material to the real world. It is an excellent opportunity to facilitate learning outside of the online classroom in an interesting and purposeful way. Field notes, reports, inventories, and treasure hunt lists, can be developed in the online course individually or in small groups and then used in the field trip. Students can then return to the course to report on their experiences to the class or in small groups. Variation: Students can also videotape the field trip and turn it into the instructor. See related, Direct an Observation.
21. Film/Video: As an offline activity for an online course, these visual tools help build background for particular topics or motivate student reaction and analysis. They encourage the use and development of communication skills and can be used to establish a social context for English as a second language, or to provide visual “texts” for deaf students. Film/Video/Audio etc. can be developed by the instructor and sent out to students, or in some cases students can be directed to find a particular resource at the local library or video rental store.
22. Group activity: There is a nearly endless list of group and collaborative activities you can do in the online classroom. The group discussion, for example, provides an opportunity for pooling of ideas, experience, and knowledge.
23. Keep a journal: Journal entries provide students an opportunity to make observations and reflect on their learning or development of a skill. This can be saved privately by the student and then periodically turned in to the instructor or submitted to the instructor on more regular intervals. Journaling activities can also be done in pairs or small groups with peer review intervals.
24. Games: They can be used to teach everything from art to zoology and are only limited by the imagination. Online or offline games can be used. Students can work individually or in small groups.
25. Laboratory: This is where students apply what they have learned. Labs can be set up as online experiments using simulation web sites, or software, or off line as actual experiments that the students conduct and then return to the class to report their findings. Lab packets can be sent to students including anything from seeds to sprout to a dead cat for dissection… Set up for this activity is rigorous and essential.
26. Learning teams: This group method encourages full participation from students in the learning process, provides shared support among students and promotes individual preparation prior to class. This can be accomplished online using the small group areas. Variation see, Study Groups.
27. Maps: Concept maps, diagrams, maps to are used to explain concepts. They can be student- or teacher-generated. They can be created in spreadsheets or other graphics software programs and attached as files to assignment documents or imported into the course for display.
28. Memorization: There are a variety of memory techniques that students can devise, learn about, and practice as online and off line activities. In an online course that requires memorization, the self-test is a useful study tool to help students self assess.
29. Models: Teaching and learning models add dimension to the learning environment even when they are abstract. In an online classroom, models can be used as examples to clarify what is expected from the student in terms of behavior, responses, quality of work, etc.
30. News Articles: Topical news stories are a great source of teaching material. They can raise the level of involvement and participation that the students have in the lesson. In an online class, topical news stories can be used to bring in current events or to target learning to the individual interests of students, or to target learning to timely topics. To do this in an online course where everything must be created prior to the first day of class, the structure of the course is designed in advance to explain, and accommodate timely topical new, e.g., place holder documents are created in the course in a Module called “the news room” where topical news based activities will appear as they happen in the news. Variation: Students pick a news story, item, trend, issue and follow it and post assignments related to their topic designed build expertise in the student on that topic, e.g, student becomes an expert related to the economics of South Africa, by reviewing an assigned list of periodicals for a certain period of time and completing a series of assignments designed to probe the topic, leading a small group discussion , and writing a paper to synthesize a report on the topic.
31. Object/Object Lessons: Activities specifically developed to target the nature of science concepts serve as object lessons that can enhance online discussions.
32. Panels: A an online discussion among a selected group of students with an assigned leader, in front of the class that joins in later. It is used as a technique to stimulate interest and thinking, and to provoke better discussion.With set up and explanation this can be done online using online discussion. Students are broken into Groups/Panels, given a topic, a leader is assigned. The discussion in each group is restricted to group members but members from other groups are assigned to pick other panels to follow and then at a specific time are invited to pose questions to the panel and participate in the discussion.
33. Paradox: It helps students move beyond either/or toward both/and thinking. A paradox presented online to a student, a small group , or to the class can be a very effective discussion starter, written assignment or small group activity to problem solve. See related, Puzzles.
34. Peer Review: Student peer review is often used to increase the amount of feedback students receive on their writing and speaking assignments, but it can be applied to a variety of activities. Variation: Peer observations are different from the peer review. You aren’t asked to review, rank, or evaluate your peers, but provide formative information, to help a person improve, change, and grow as a writer. Online this can be done in assigned pairs or in small groups.
35. Picture Studies: Use of pictures & diagrams in the classroom. Graphics files can be imported or attached to documents in an online course by the instructor of the student to illustrate, support, document, or demonstrate.
36. Problem Solving: Online, students solve given or self-generated problems individually or in groups.
37. Projects: These can be done individually, in pairs or groups, student- or teacher designed. They can be online or offline activities. They can be posted online, to the instructor, to the class, to a small group, for evaluation, review or discussion. Or sent in to the instructor for evaluation, e.g., a sculpture, a video demonstrating a skill, an audio tape of a conversation in a foreign language, etc.
38. Puzzles: These cover all disciplines and may be verbal(written), mathematical, conceptual or concrete. A puzzle presented online to a student, a small group , or to the class can be a very effective discussion starter, written assignment ,or small group activity to problem solve. See related, Paradox.
39. Quiz or self-test: Questions may be short essay, multipart, matching, multiple choice, short answer, true/false, etc.
40. Questions and Answers: A variation on the ancient Socratic method. This as an online activity can be done with the entire class or in pairs or groups. Student and teacher may reverse roles. See related, Discussion.
41. Report: An online report may occur in a variety of formats and may be delivered individually or as a group effort, to the entire class or to small groups, or to the instructor. The instructor must set up the location in the course for reports and clearly document, how, when, and where reports are expected.
42. Review: An online review may have various resources as its object such as a book, article, a performance, etc. Variation: Students can peer review each other’s work.
43. Role Playing: The spontaneous acting out of a situation or an incident by selected members of the group. It may be used as the basis of developing clearer insights into the feelings of people and the forces in a situation which facilitate or block good human relations. Online a role-play has documented and assigned roles, scenarios that set up the situation or incident and can be carried out in small groups. The instructor must provide very clear definition of roles, role assignment, activity set up, explanations, etc. A role play must be carefully planned and executed in an online course for it to work. See related, Simulation.
44. Skits: Skit writing can easily be incorporated into an online classroom including science and math to make concepts and ideas come alive. A skit can also be carried out in an online classroom as an offline activity that is video taped and turned into the instructor for review and evaluation. A report /description of the skit can be submitted by the student online to the class to incorporate it as part of the online course.
45. Simulations: (1) Provide a way of creating a rich communicative environment (a representation of reality) where students actively become a part of some real-world system and function according to predetermined roles as members of that group. Some examples include the Analytic Memo, In Basket (Manager’s Box); Committee Hearing; management lab (corporate business); treasure hunt; web quest; Sam’s Café (philosophical perspectives); Point Counter Point; U.N Council Meeting; Let’s Do Business!, etc. Rigorous set up for this type of activity is required on the part of the instructor. Definition of roles, role assignment, activity set up, explanations, etc., must be carefully planned and executed in an online course for this to work. See related, Role Play. (2) Multimedia simulations can be added to an online course to illustrate, explain, deconstruct a process, function, system, etc. Simulations can be distributed to students on CDs as accompanying materials to the course, added as objects or links to a course as presentation material, be incorporated into a course as a component of test or quiz, etc.
46. Storytelling: This is a powerful teaching strategy that can be used online not only in English, but also in history and any disciplines with an historical background, which includes all.
47. Study Groups: Students can be assigned to pairs or small groups to help each other out in the course for the entire duration of the course, or to rotate with time or change in topic. Variation see, Learning Teams.
48. Symposium: An ancient Greek instructional technique. It is a discussion in which the topic is broken into its various phases; each part is presented by an expert or person well-informed on that particular phase, in a brief, concise speech. Online, students can perfect their phase individually or in small groups with discussion and assignments designed by the instructor or the students to perfect their brief concise “speech,” and then be directed to present it to the entire class.
49. Take a poll: This is a quick technique that can be used to take the pulse of the class, highlight differences of opinion or interpretation, and surface assumptions. Instructors can use the test/self-test or multipart written assignment forms to create their online polls.
50. Testimonies: Personal testimonies bring life to any learning environment. Online self disclosure can be easier for some with an aspect or illusion of anonymity because of the lack of face to face presence. Ground rules need to be set up to establish expectations for confidentiality, online courteous behavior, and respect for each other.
On May 4th, 2015 I achieved the Diploma in Social Media Marketing offered by Alison.com
Alison.com — Diploma in Web Business Development and Marketing Achieved!
This coursework was completed over a few days of intense study. Having a business presence on the Internet has become a necessity in today’s world. This diploma course guided me through the initial steps of setting up an online business, from choosing a web hosting account for your site through registering your domain name. The course then explored some of the essential tools in building a working business website, including HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and Adobe Dreamweaver. Also covered was information related to affiliate and e-mail marketing, as well as the use of social media marketing to help build your business. The Diploma in Web Business Development and Marketing can be seen as ideal for anyone who wants to set up a Web business but feels they need more guidance on the required skills, or for those with a desire to further their understanding of how online businesses work.
Upon completion of this course I have a greater grasp on the abilities of creating a fully functioning business website. I also feel my understanding of web design concepts such as domain name, hosting, nameservers and web editors has improved significantly. I have gained a good knowledge of images, text and the color aspects within a website, and I know how to publish to online hosting companies. I understand HTML, Cascading Style Sheets, Dreamweaver and how to index my business website successfully. I have learned of different ways to make money from an existing website, and how not to overdo it. I fell I know how to use autoresponders to automatically answer emails, and I know how to create confirmation emails and messages in AWeber. This course has introduced me to affiliate marketing and showed me how to increase traffic to my and my clients’ websites.
On April 2nd, 2015 at Wake Tech’s North Campus, Ed Neal addressed the Wake Tech Faculty Professional Development Conference at 9:00am
Evaluating Student Learning: Faculty Professional Development Conference 2015
The hope of this lecture was to create usable training. When looking into your approaches to your classes, and how you evaluate your student learning, begin by evaluating your SLO’s.
- Which ones can be multiple choice questions?
- Which ones can be fill-in-the-blank questions?
- Which ones can require a rubric for open-ended work?
It is important to note that there is a distinct difference between assessment and evaluation.
Evaluation— placing a value
Assessment— Sitting beside the learner and making a determination
More assessments means less stress and better evaluations. Use follow-up questions to accurately assess student learning after lecture and readings. Discussions are great ways to provide students with asynchronus communication when assessing their learning.
If you are giving a grade for everything, students will become grade-oriented. That is, if the task is deemed to be worth doing, and the reward is deemed high enough.
Your students will want to know “How am I graded?”, “What kind of assessments will I receive?”. Be crystal clear. Evaluation is measurement. It should be valid (that is to say, it should test what you want it to test), and it should also be reliable (that is to say, it should be usable again and again without fail).
What are the Threats to Validity?
Threats to validity are often no mentioned. Specifically, cheating. What is it that you are measuring… if the students cheat. Its really a good question. Testing improves learning. Studies and testing clearly supports this.
We took a short test, a tauroscatalogical test.
Incorrect answers will stay with students if not corrected. They can stay with people for a lifetime if uncorrected. The best answer or solution to this is to discuss incorrect answers with students and why the proper answers are correct. Students in high school typically complete 200+ multiple choice test by the time they graduate. Typically, this encompasses 1 right answer, 1 wrong answer in an opposite fashion, and 2 items which are deemed “distractors”. Your students are GOOD at taking these test. You are very poor at writing them.
Case problems are typically the worst questions of all times. Teachers like them because they are ways of dealing with real-world problems. Students hate these, because they are difficult, and moreso than any other type of question they encounter. Dial back the number of these questions that you demand students answer. These are the “Money questions”.
Time to go
At this point, the discussions began to diverge from my needs. As a graphic and web design teacher, our examinations are based on real-world scenarios, multiple choice questions, and the best I can come up with in a constantly changing landscape of culture and technology. Frankly, if I can come up with 50-60 questions, I feel totally on top of my game.
The discussion broke down into item analysis, how to properly calculate the discrimination index with your questions using results from a scan-tron machine, and the mathematical calculations required to do this. I don’t use scan-tron forms, and I haven’t used one since I started working in education in 2005. All of my testing is blackboard-based and I couldn’t help with this or even pretend to understand how these mathematics could be carried out. The populations they discussed in the classes were in the 200+ range per section, and my largest class is 24 students per section, or up to 96 students per semester in all my courses.
We then broke down into small groups and discussed our individual SLOs and which could be broken down into what kinds of questions. Since in my courses we are generally discussing 4 SLOs, my portion was over quickly enough to focus on others for the remainder of the class. I felt this class was enjoyable, and I learned a great deal, however I could not participate as fully as others.
Ed Neal is a consultant with 34 years of experience in faculty development.
As part of Wake Tech Community College’s professional development seminar, I attended the Capstone Course Roundtable presented by Walter Rotenberry. Walter Rotenberry is the lead for Wake Tech’s SGD department (simulation and video game development).
In the roundtable discussion, Rotenberry laid out his procedure for a capstone course, which I have vaguely outlined below:
- Establish the course as a capstone for your program. Inform students prior to entering and upon their first day in the class the details involved with the planned courses of action. Include all expectations, all contingencies, the level of quality required, and how their potential employment may be affected by their level of commitment. Remind them that they will get out of the course whatever they put into it.
- Set a final date for presentation. Plan that date and make sure that the course centers around the expectations required on that date.
- Focus on what is achievable. Students in Rotenberry’s class presented all their materials to the class in their first week, each choosing their best project to work with, fleshing it out over time to a perfect, finished project to present.
- Involve the community. Rotenberry contacted his closest contemporaries at surrounding colleges (in his case, NCSU and their graduate program in Game Development) and had a few joint sessions in which his team and their team could exchange ideas, discuss current projects, and discuss current topics, trends, and ideas in the industry. This was instrumental in achieving a program in which questions would be posed, answered, and attended to BEFORE presentation
- Pitch your programs to the best in the business. OK, we presented to CEOs and presidents of video game companies in our area, Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. Walter Rotenbery lined up the individuals and set their dates to attend, reminding them prior to the festivities, and following up with each one.
- Make an event of it. Students came prepared to discuss their work, networked with the individuals present and enjoyed snacks. After a short time had passed, each student presented their projects to the group, and in some cases individual computers were opened so that industry folk could try out each game on their own.
- Don’t let the music stop. Walter’s students passed out business cards and links to online portfolios and games. Students followed up with individuals, and several made appointments to meet with industry designers. Several employment opportunities came out of the presentations, and it has become a permanent addition to the SGD (simulation and game development) track.
In attending this training, I could clearly see how our Graphic Design IV or our Portfolio classes could easily become capstone courses. Portfolio could easily transition to involvement with local organizations such as AIGA here in Raleigh, NC or TIMA (triangle interactive Media Association). Graphic Design IV could easily ally with the Addy Awards or with GDUSA and other magazine contests. I look forward to discussing this with Damu Murray, Woody Hayes, and Marsha Mills.