How’d Your Class Go? Using Blogs, Wikis, and other Web 2.0 Tools for Assessment Sonja V. Heeter, Ph.D. Clarion University RECAP May 15, 2008
Used to make judgments about people or things
As teachers, we are familiar with assessments that tell us how well our students are doing. We gather this information from assignments and tests. But what about our own teaching? Of what value is assessment to our own teaching?
Formative assessment occurs during learning so that instruction can be modified and adapted to better promote learning of the stated goals and objectives. Summative assessment is generally that assessment that is performed at the end of an instructional unit to determine if learning goals and objectives have been met. Confirmative assessment is that which occurs at a future time after instruction has been completed to determine the effectiveness of instruction over time.
Is it necessary? Avoid assessing for assessment’s sake! Avoid over-burdening students and yourself with unnecessary assessments.
What are the characteristics of effective formative assessments?
Satisfaction with materials, time, delivery?
What do students know about the topic?
How long does it take to complete activities?
Do the activities promote understanding?
What is most clear?
What is unclear?
What resources are needed to address the purpose?
What type of evidence will be acceptable?
Scores Test data Opinion Written responses Reflections Performance
They need to know where they stand and what they can do to “close the gap”. Be specific.
Samples Let’s look at a few practical examples that stem from low level technologies. Later we’ll look at how to apply these in a digital environment and note some advantages.
3-2-1 3 things you learned. 2 things you are still wondering. 1 wish for next class. This is one of my favorite strategies. You can make each prompt as specific or as general as your purpose demands. Essentially you are checking for comprehension and asking for student input about how the class might be improved.
Beginning of class or
End of class activity / exit activity--
Question or prompt students.
One minute to respond in writing.
Similar to the minute paper…prompt is about what is still unclear.
You can be as specific or general as your purpose requires.
Who did / does?
What to whom?
In response to a specific topic, ask students to answer these questions. You may want to try it out before using it with your students.
2-5 open ended questions
Students respond in 3-4 sentences each
Organize responses into 4 piles
erroneous background knowledge
no relevant background knowledge
some background knowledge
significant background knowledge
Supply a prompt
Students respond on exiting the class
You might also use stickie notes and create a histogram as students exit the class. This works well for creating consensus and providing a quick visual display of the responses.
Reflections on daily / weekly learning
This can be a daily or weekly journal with relatively open-ended ideas. You may want to set some criteria for acceptable entries such as length and quality of responses.
Broad or narrow
Specific concept understanding
The key here is to make the quiz low stakes and as short as possible while providing enough motivation that students will respond thoughtfully.
Course Management Tools
These are some typical tools embedded in course management systems that work well for creating and deploying assessments.
Public or private
Single topic focus
Blogs can be public or private depending on the purpose. If the blog is considered a learning log or daily journal, it may be better to make it private so that only the blogger and the instructor have access. If you want to create community learning, then the blog would be public. At any rate, this permits students to respond in their own time and gives them time to construct thoughtful responses.
Using Blogs for Assessment
These types of formative assessments lend themselves to the blogging format.
Course management system tools
Many free online sites
BlogEasy http://www.blogeasy.com/ Free Web Hosting and Free Blog BlogEasy offers free blog hosting, which is a free web page publishing and syndication service that allows users to quickly share information, such as news, reviews, blogs, journals, weblogs, diaries, and photos.
Bb Blog Reprinted with permission from S.v. Heeter’s 2008 Spring-ED 617.W1 course site Here’s an example of an assessment I conducted this spring in an attempt to gauge the class’s reaction to what I thought was a radical position. So I was testing an assumption with this prompt as well as using a reading response assessment.
Bb Blog Response Reprinted with permission from S.v. Heeter’s 2008 Spring-ED 617.W1 course site
Peer Response Reprinted with permission from S.v. Heeter’s 2008 Spring-ED 617.W1 course site
Other Bb Blog Options
Set privacy options
Set visibility of comments
The View History option permits the instructor or the author to see how pages looked in prior edits. The Export site feature permits students to download a static copy of the blog at the end of the course or activity. Blog options allow various levels of privacy and access to the postings and comments.
History Reprinted with permission from S.v. Heeter’s 2008 Spring-ED 617.W1 course site This is an example of a single contributor to a posting. If this was a group task you would be able to see the contributions made by each student in the group. There is a time and date stamp on the posting as well as the edits. Clicking on the View Diff button shows the condition of the page once the user clicked on save. Each time the save button is used a new version of the page is saved.
What are Wikis?
A wiki is a website that includes the collaboration of work from many different authors. A wiki web site allows anyone to edit, delete, or modify the content on the web. (The first wiki creator named the site after a chain of buses in Hawaii; Wiki means "quick" in Hawaiian.) (http://tig.lsc.gov/techglossary.php) A wiki is quick and easy to use. This tool removes the need for any high-end technical ability to design pages and removes the burden of uploading pages to a web server. Basically, it is a point-and-click process so that nearly everyone can have success designing a web site.
Wikis for Assessment
Wikis are not something that are constructed in a hurry but they do offer an insight into learning over time. They also are very useful for group work whether assigned or unassigned by the instructor. My students will often ask to have access to a wiki space for communicating with group members and for developing concepts and content for group projects. The Presentations link is an example of a collection of individual essays posted at a group website.
Free Wiki Tools
These are particularly teacher-student friendly. The offer secure, private access.
Choose this tool depending on the type of tool you have access to and the visibility you want the responses to have. You’ll notice that some of these assessments were listed with other tools, too.
Free Survey Tools
Survey monkey http://www.surveymonkey.com
Enter a content area at Bb.
Go to the Edit mode.
Use the dropdown menu on the right.
Here’s how to create a survey in Blackboard.
View Survey results Reprinted with permission from S.v. Heeter’s 2008 Spring-ED 617.W1 course site To view the survey results, go to the Gradebook and click on the item’s name in the gradebook view. This example shows the FewMin item. Click on Assessment Attempt Details.
Many more examples..
The number of assessment examples available are infinite.
Web 2.0 tools and the ingenuity of the instructor facilitate many possibilities.