Contextualizing Online Assignments Mar31

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  • The consensus is that “spoon-feeding” makes students into passive recipients of information. I’ve heard academics say the kind of contextualization I’m proposing here amounts to spoon-feeding. My intention is quite different however.
  • Contextualizing Online Assignments Mar31

    1. 1. Contextualizing Online Assignments: “ Spoon-Feeding” or Best Practice? Michael Cenkner, M.Ed. Athabasca University
    2. 2. Presentation Outline <ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Terms - What does “contextualize assignments” mean? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Why we aren't doing it </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Why we should do it </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thoughts on how to contextualize assignments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ideas on how to approach it conceptually </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ideas on how to format </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>References </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. What does “contextualize assignments” mean? Telling students “why” they are doing a given assignment Bringing awareness to the several dimensions to this Separating the “how to” from the “why”
    4. 4. Terms “ Contextualize“ - situating “ Explicit contextualization” – distinct from “how to” “ Assignment” - a learning task “ Content domain-centered ” vs. “learning-centered” – focus is the learning experience
    5. 5. Limits of presentation Not talking about rubrics (marking guides) - necessary but not sufficient Not talking about feedback – actually this contextualization is part of feedback
    6. 6. Example <ul><li>(To Marking Guide…) </li></ul>
    7. 7. Currently... <ul><li>Explicit contextualization often not happening </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Absent </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Buried </li></ul></ul></ul>
    8. 8. “ Fallacy of obviousness” vs. learner diversity <ul><ul><li>At the same time the diversity of students has increased enormously so that previous assumptions of the level of sophistication of knowledge background, study skills, conception of learning (Saljo, 1982) or conception of knowledge (Perry, 1970) of students are now likely to be very wide of the mark. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gibbs and Simpson, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Does your assessment support your students’ learning? </li></ul></ul></ul>
    9. 9. “ Fallacy of obviousness” vs. levels of awareness <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conception of the task </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conception of learning </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conception of knowledge </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conception of the discipline </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gibbs and Simpson, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Does your assessment support your students’ learning? </li></ul></ul></ul>
    10. 10. “ Fallacy of obviousness” vs. complexities of environment <ul><ul><ul><li>Difficulties related to online strategies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Difficulties related to online affordances </li></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Other reasons <ul><ul><li>Fallacy of “benefits of vagueness” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Supporting creativity” vs. need to know the real goal </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Supporting initiative” vs. need to know real boundaries </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Power and control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conceptual development” vs. “rite of passage”? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ It was good enough for me…” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of knowledge about integrated unit planning among faculty; lack of incentives </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Why we should contextualize assignments <ul><ul><li>To motivate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Relevance; competence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To remind </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cognitive - activating prior learning </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To make responsible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Metacognition – activating learning strategies; learner control </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To guide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Teaching - relates to summarizing, setting objectives, and cuing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To explain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Concept formation – “why” and “how to” are different kinds of concepts </li></ul></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Some good reasons why students do assignments <ul><ul><li>To apply theoretical/conceptual knowledge in an accurate way </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To practice a (conceptual) skill, procedure or algorithm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To apply domain thinking and terminology in an appropriate way </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To help prepare for an exam </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To be successful early on in the course </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To apply explicit or implicit learning strategies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To benefit from a synergy (e.g. design a solution to a problem) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To consolidate/synthesize understanding </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Example
    15. 15. Example
    16. 16. Example <ul><li>(To Marking Guide…) </li></ul>
    17. 17. Some integrated unit development models <ul><ul><li>“ Learning-centred” vs. “content domain-centred” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Both in K-12 and corporate but also post-secondary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Integrated” means an entire learning experience is provided </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. Understanding by Design (UbD) Unit Planning Approach <ul><ul><li>Dimensions of understanding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Backwards approach” - Starts with questions about assessment: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What do practitioners do? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is evidence of them doing it? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What would assessment from there look like? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What activities would prepare students for that assessment? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What content would prepare students for that assessment? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The “why we are doing this” is integrated throughout </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.ubdexchange.org/ </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. “ 4MAT” Unit Planning Approach online.sfsu.edu/.../deborah/4mat.htm
    20. 20. Summary <ul><ul><li>The contextualization of assignments is crucial to learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The contextualization should minimally be: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Explicit </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Multi-dimensional </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Separate from instructions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Formatted differently from instructions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some ideas on formatting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some pointers to integrated unit planning models </li></ul></ul>
    21. 22. References <ul><li>Billett, S. (2001). Workplaces, communities and pedagogy: an activity theory view. In M.R. Lea & Kathy Nicoll (Eds.), In Distributed Learning: Social and cultural approaches to practice (1st ed., pp. (pp.83-97).). New York: Taylor & Francis (Routledge). </li></ul><ul><li>Gibbs, G., & Simpson, C. (2004). Does your assessment support your students’ learning? Journal of Learning and teaching in Higher Education , Vol. 1, No. 1. </li></ul><ul><li>Marzano, R., & Pickering, D. (2001). Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (ASCD) . Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervisions and Curriculum Development. </li></ul><ul><li>Moses, A. (n.d.). Building on Prior Knowledge and Meaningful Student Contexts/Cultures. Critical Issue: Building on Prior Knowledge and Meaningful Student Contexts/Cultures . Retrieved March 17, 2009, from http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/learning/lr100.htm. </li></ul><ul><li>Oxford, R. (1990). Language learning strategies and beyond: A look at strategies in the context of styles. In S.S. Magnan (Ed.), In Shifting the instructional focus to the learner (pp. 35-55). Middlebury, VT: Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. </li></ul><ul><li>Reflective baby. (n.d.). . Retrieved March 23, 2009, from http://mopslik.ca/photos/Gabriella/gabby12.jpg. </li></ul><ul><li>Sambell, K., McDowell, L., & Brown, S. (1997). &quot;But Is It Fair?&quot; : An Exploratory Study Of Student Perceptions Of The Consequential Validity Of Assessment. Studies In Educational Evaluation , Volume 23 , Pages 349-371. </li></ul><ul><li>Spoon feeding Image. (n.d.). . Retrieved March 23, 2009, from http://www.flickr.com/photos/60546721@N00/73410200/. </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding by Design Exchange by ASCD. (n.d.). . Retrieved March 23, 2009, from http://www.ubdexchange.org/. </li></ul><ul><li>Waite, T. (n.d.). Activity Theory. Retrieved March 20, 2009, from http://www.slis.indiana.edu/faculty/yrogers/act_theory2/. </li></ul><ul><li>Welcome to 4MAT: A New Way of Thinking About Teaching and Learning. (n.d.). . Retrieved March 23, 2009, from http://www.aboutlearning.com/. </li></ul>

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