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Rounding up - assessment;ending a course Joanne Sintes Fernando López Jorge Bascón
Top Tips For Asynchronous Online Assessment “Assessment as a process requires that online learning activities facilitate self-assessment,peer-assessment, self-regulatory mechanisms, and learner autonomy.” (*Vonderwell s, Xin L, and Alderman K (2007) Asynchronous Discussions and Assessment in Online Learning)
Build a community. The creation of a learning community promotespeer learning and scaffolding through access to other student’s thoughts and viewpoints.
Set clear criteria and objectivesFavour ‘assessment for learning’ so, students fully understandtheir learning and the goals they are aiming for throughfeedback.Avoid simplifying assessment with a simple pass or fail, oreven percentages or similar. Establish whether your assessment is going to be formative orsummative and be transparent about this with your learners
Make it clear to students from theoutset whether participation isrequired/graded or not, and how itaffects their total mark/grade.Ensure that each learnerunderstands the level of participationthat is expected of them. Bear in mind the issue of poor writing skills as a factor in assessing a student’s contributions, i.e. in L1 speakers. Be clear on the objective of the assessment and make it clear to students the level that will be expected or not.
Consider a global impression mark for contributions, plus marks for specific skills/categories. Relevance to the topic (staying on message), creativity e.g. moving the discussion forward/ introducing new angles/ideas/finding solutions, responsiveness to/support for peers, etc.Careful when creating your own criteria: its very time-consuming andthere are bound to be very good ones already available.
Be clear about what you Encourage your learners toexpect from students. post contributions that followGive examples of posts that that model.show some reflection and Provide ‘meta cognitive guides’bring a valid contribution to during the discussion andthe conversation. provide feedback afterwards. Having a structured discussion increases effectiveness. Avoid the use of non-threaded discussions: they limit student’s responses and encourage Check the quality of your redundant responses whereas questions to avoid redundant threaded ones result in a more in- responses. Carefully use depth and diverse responses and open and closed questions help develop more interactions. according to your aim.
Set up different task types/types of participation for assessment: * students answer questions, * respond to peers comments and posts, * submit questions for discussion, * design discussion tasks for their peers, * summarize threads Structure tasks in such a way that students respond to each other and not to the instructor/the criteria. Encourage learners to use forums for sharing and testing out ideas about learning and not only to use the assessed forums. Archive discussions so that both tutors and learners can refer to them later on if need be.
Consider Learning skillsUse opportunities for peer and self-assessment as a tool to encouragereflection and learner autonomy.Use formative assessment (assessing what they have produced) as a guidefor self and peer reflection, in order for them to better assess their ownunderstanding of the content they are learning.Remember student’s learning is based on a group of different factors.Consider assessment the main tool to facilitate student learning; a way toassess student work in progress.Only use summative assessment to gage your learner’s progress. Provideopportunity for reflection on how they got to the correct answer.Online discussions can help activate reflective learning and selfassessment, e.g., when writing a post the learner things carefully aboutwhat they are going to say knowing the group will be reading it.
Top TipsFor Synchronous Online Assessment “One of the most marvelous things about online technology is the fact that all discussions are recorded and documented”. (Ideas for Effective Online Instruction. George Drops. April 2003)
Presence and absence: Physical versus virtual presence. Students may appear to be logged on but are not participating. Researching topic? Thinking?Overview synchronous online assessment Coding the data:Dealing with ambiguity: Turns, Speech acts, strategies toStatements could be consider a summarize opinionsquestion, or a doubt, how you deal withcounter-arguments. How informationmoves through development of aconversation
Group sizes:Social strategies: Larger groups or small ones is a influence when participation isGroup development when insecure assessed.about a particular topic Tutor/Facilitator May influence process, may interpret based on belief rather than evidence.
Research about before any assessment begins Participation: Getting a group of learners together - particularly a large group - presents too many challenges Roles: A variety of roles will occur and it would seem that occupying any of the roles should be assessed the same.Exploratory talk:In terms of creativity adding new ideas, perspectives and/or informationThe students come up with suggestions or solutions
Deep learning: How information obtained is being processed and added toexisting schema. Difficult to determine or assess this directly via a synchronous chat in anything but the most subjective way Community: How responsive and supportive is a student to his/her peers? Does a student contribute to the social cohesion of the group?
Can develop argumentation skills. Benefits of Enables students to participate more synchronous equally (than F2F). assessmentProvides students with asense of community. Can be less teacher dominated (than F2F discussions). Can provide rhythm for distance learning program.
Difficulties of synchronous assessmentStudents may feel intimidated by speedand language. Heavy cognitive load for tutor.Overlapping threads and turns out ofsequence can make conversationdifficult to follow.
Literature in this field of online synchronous assessment considers that it should be based on the student, not tutor. And then, constructivism is established as the main protagonist in thisdesign framework covering student/course design/facilitator in an abstract view:
E-closure is probably one of the moststrange steps of an online course becausedo you have just to say bye? do you send afinal mark and feedback and then close thecourse down?After having so much emotional and professional contact withthe rest of participants the end is as important as the beginningof an online course. We need to give all the students, as in a f2fcourse, the chance to say goodbye to everybody and to shareeverything that has been learnt.
Act 1: Parting Gifts.You have the chance, as a participant or atutor, to offer a farewell to the rest of your group.A gift can be almost anything such as a joke, apoem, a piece of music by the participant, ahome-made video, a useful website...
Act 2: The Most Important Thing Ive learnedThis activity asks the students to point out the ONE most important thing that they have learned during the course.Participants need to choose just one although it is very difficult afterhaving learnt so many new things. Here, again, we are not justconcentrating on one thing such as an activity, a free voiceapplication or a new programme they have learnt, participants canmake comments on their emotions when sharing knowledge andtime with some new people. It is better to create this activity with anonline notice board or poster tool such as Golgster or Wallwisher. Itkeeps all contributions short and easier to read at once. www.wallwisher.com An www.glogster.com A very online notice board maker interactive way to make that allows people to your own poster and share express their feelings and it with your friends. thoughts.