Assessing “Research” Posters in an Upper-Level C-I Course for Majors A Case Study from Physics and Astronomy Greg Stacy P&A (Important Disclaimer: The presenter is not an expert in poster presentations. Refer to CxC resources!) CxC Summer Institute June 2011
The Course: Modern Optics (PHYS 4135)
“ Traditional” lecture format (3-credit hrs; no formal lab);
Offered every other year ; paired with Observational Techniques (ASTR 4261, which is also C-I certified);
Required for astronomy concentrators (i.e., a captive audience), and a “4000-level” elective for other physics concentrators;
Average enrollment: 8-14 physics majors.
Role of “Research” Poster
In place of the usual term paper;
Not (necessarily) a poster on personal research activities of the student (Spring 2010: 5/10);
Chance for students to pursue a topic not covered in depth in class;
Explore latest developments in optics-related research in any area;
Multi-disciplinary topics possible/encouraged
(e.g., optics in the visual arts).
“ Ground Rules”/Timeline
Class orientation/visit to CxC Communication Studio;
Reading assignment(s) on good poster-presentation techniques for the sciences (with some examples and templates)
(e.g., C. Purrington, Dept of Biology, Swarthmore College at http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/cpurrin1/posteradvice.htm );
~2 weeks before Spring Break:
Submit abstract and meet with me to review topic;
Distribute/discuss assignment details and evaluation criteria in class;
Before Break: submit draft poster electronically (on moodle);
One week after Break: submit peer-review comments on draft poster s (via moodle “workshop” application);
Following week: Review/discuss peer-review results collectively in class;
Revise and submit final poster by last week of class;
Last week of class: Display of final posters with oral presentation (with final peer review and evaluation).
Peer Evaluation Form: Draft-Poster Version “ Anonymous” peer reviewer “ Mandatory” comments Entered via moodle by each student for each member of the class. A “self-assessment” is also required. (see supplementary materials on the wiki.)
On-line poster submission and peer assessments via the class Moodle pages Moodle “workshop” applications for on-line assessment.
Draft to Final Version and Presentation Draft version + Peer/Instructor critiques + Iterations with CxC Studio personnel Final version
Final Poster and Oral Presentations
“ Conference-like” 5-minute oral presentation of each final poster
(ad-hoc hallway poster session);
Final peer evaluation of both the final poster and oral presentation
(yet another rubric – see supplementary materials on the wiki);
Further incentive for active student engagement:
T/F section on the final exam on poster topics (~10% of final-exam grade).
Lessons Learned/Future Plans
Labor intensive (it’s true!) the first (and second!) time through;
Must sacrifice some content for in-class C-I activities;
Need a better venue for final poster presentations (?);
Well-designed assignment criteria and evaluation rubrics essential (constantly re-evaluating the evaluation process);
Need “anonymous” peer review for small classes;
Need an “automatic” on-line method for entering peer-review scores and comments, and to collate scores (i.e., moodle);
Would like to video-tape presentations in the future.
CxC studio personnel for class visits, student consultations, and printing of the final posters;
Prof. Rick Trebino at Georgia Tech for freely sharing his on-line optics notes (for a very similar course).
Modern Optics (PHYS 4135) Spring 2010 Poster Presenters
The other C-I component: In-class optics demos Demo #1: Early in the semester – geometrical optics (lenses and mirrors); topics the students should already be familiar with from intro physics. Demo #2: Late in the semester – more advanced topics (i.e., new material), using more sophisticated equipment. (~5-min oral presentations, with peer assessment)
Optics Demos Extra-credit Option Submit a short video clip of your optics demo! (with tips and suggestions for the next student who tries it …) Five of ten students submitted short video clips. Long-term objective: Assemble a small library of “reference” video clips for future students. This year’s “People’s Choice Award” (complete with intro sound track!): Bill Freeman's Fresnel Zone Plate Video Clip
The Course ( Modern Optics – PHYS 4135)
C-I Elements (Visual and Spoken)
The Plan (“theory”)
The Implementation (“practice”)
Lessons Learned to Date
Originally certified Spring 2008, with emphasis on Visual and Spoken modes of communication; Spring 2010 was the second time offered as C-I.
Two in-class student demonstrations of optical phenomena (with peer/instructor evaluation);
One “research” poster (with peer/instructor evaluation of draft and final versions, and of final oral presentation).
Moodle “Workshop” Application “… the most complex tool currently available in Moodle …” (!?) (currently under “complete” revision to version 2.0?)
electronic submission of student work for peer review and assessment;
on-line “anonymous” critiques and assessments;
flexible assessment-rubric creation options;
“ practice” (i.e., training) assessments allowed;
numerous grading schemes/options available.
grading scheme(s) rather complex (and unclear, to me …);
documentation somewhat lacking in detail and examples;
no (obvious) way to use one workshop as a template for another.
Sample instructor’s view of submitted assessment scores. Each student carried out an initial self-assessment, and then a follow-up self-assessment recommended after reviewing peer comments. Problem: Not clear (to me) how individual scores are combined to arrive at a “total grade.”
Sample Evaluation Summary Teaching moment: How do you interpret a reviewer’s/referee’s scores and comments?