October 9, 2012
Resources for teaching strategies (ASKe site at Oxford Brookes University)
Oxford Brookes University Business School (UK) established the Assessment Standards Knowledge exchange (ASKe), which is currently associated with the Pedagogy Research Centre. ASKe publishes brochures (called the 1, 2, 3, leaflets) that describe practical and effective evidence-based strategies that faculty can implement to improve students' learning. All of the suggestions are based on research evidence and can be implemented in a few steps. The brochures are short (2-8 pages) and can be downloaded as PDF files.
The URL for the ASKe index of current titles is:
Current titles include:
How to make your feedback work in three easy steps
Using generic feedback effectively
Making peer feedback work in three easy steps
Getting the most from Groupwork Assessment
Cultivating community: Why it's worth doing and three ways of getting there
Reduce the risk of plagiarism in just 30 mins
January 31, 2012
Grading the mechanics of writing quickly while helping students learn mechanics
When you make the assignment, tell your students that you will be grading them on mechanics by choosing one page (but you don't tell them which page) from the assignment to note instances of errors in the mechanics of language. On that page, you will only put a check in the left (or right) margin in line with each mechanical error. Do not identify what the error is or correct the error yourself.
Set the standard for how many errors on the page will affect the grade for the overall assignment and in what ways (e.g., 0-5 errors = 20 points gained for mechanics, 5-10 errors = 15 points gained, 10-15 errors = 10 points, 15-20 errors = 5 points, more than 20 errors = 0 points).
After returning the graded assignment to your students, make a required follow-up assignment in which students identify and correct all the mechanical errors made on that page (or as many as students possibly can) to gain back points they lost. Students get credit only for accurate corrections. To motivate students to get the mechanics right the first time, award only half the value of the points they lost for each correction they make on the second assignment.
Tell the students to make their corrections on the actual page of the paper in a different color ink (or pencil) than black or the color that you used in making your notations. Give students references to one or more sources of English-language/writing handbooks. (The web has a variety of resources on mechanic of writing.) Of course, you really don't care who or what they consult to identify and correct their errors. Give students three to four days to complete this follow-up assignment.
When you collect these corrected pages, you need only look at the number of checkmarks you made in the margin and the number of correct corrections made to grade the assignment. Students will remember the errors they looked up and corrected and will be motivated to avoid repeating these errors in future papers.
On the next paper, select a different page in the submissions for this feedback procedure. Chances are that you won't see a student repeating the same errors. This second (and the third and the fourth) time around, you will catch new errors, and your students will teach themselves additional mechanics lessons.
This tip is based on a teaching strategy suggested by Linda B. Nilson, Ph.D., Director, Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation, Clemson University. (www.clemson.edu/OTEI).
January 24, 2012
Grading that functions as useful feedback to students
Grading is generally one of the least favorite parts of teaching. Grading can feel stressful when students challenge their grades, attempt to cheat or plagiarize, or focus on earning grades rather than acquiring skills or learning. When grading only serves to sort students into categories of achievement, instructors feel uncomfortable playing the role of judge, preferring the role of coach and mentor. Clear and fair grading are hard to formulate. Student performance that fails to meet our expectations sometimes makes us doubt our effectiveness as teachers.
How can we make grading less aversive to ourselves?
Resources on the CUTLA web site
Examples of rubrics:
You can download a Word document template for a rubric that you can use to begin constructing your own template from the CUTLA web site:
Walvoord, B. E., & Anderson, V. J. (2010). Effective grading: A tool for learning and assessment in college (2nd ed). San Francisco, CA: Wiley.
This book is in the CULTA library and available for check out.
This tip is based on a teaching strategy suggested by Carolyn Oxenford, Director, Center for Teaching and Learning, Marymount University. (http://www.marymount.edu/academics/ctl/faculty)
November 15, 2011
Motivate students to learn by offering “extra credit” opportunities that reinforce course learning outcomes
Near the end of a term, more students will ask their instructors if they will give them opportunities to earn extra credit to improve a course grade. Instructors have many good reasons to object to these requests. Completing an extra assignment requires time that a struggling student ought to allocate to study and completion of regular course assignments. Students often expect that the extra work will earn all the credit they need to make the target grade. If a student spends time on an extra assignment and still does badly in the course, the unmet expectations create a conflict between the student and the instructor. If the extra credit activity is unrelated to the primary learning outcomes of the course, the inflated grades will fail to accurately describe student achievement on the student learning outcomes for the course.
The following assignments and activities can be used to provide students with opportunities to improve their course grade and motivate students to learn the intended course skills and content.
Thanks to Ed Gehringer, North Carolina State University, Stacy Jacob, Texas Tech University, Stuart McKelvie, Bishop’s University, and June Pilcher, Clemson University for suggestions included in this teaching tip.
March 29, 2011
Preparing for the end of the term: Strategies for deterring grade complaints and coping with them when they occur
Strategies for deterring complaints
Strategies for coping when complaints occur
And for fun (in anticipation of Finals Week)
Visit the fantasy software Grader 2.95 created by Sally Kuhlenschmidt, Director, Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching (FaCET), Western Kentucky University
This tip was adapted from a contribution to the Teaching and Learning Writing Consortium, (sponsored by Western Kentucky University) by Sally L. Kuhlenschmidt, Ph.D., Director, Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching (FaCET), Professor, Department of Psychology, Western Kentucky University.
October 26, 2010
Balance flexibility and fairness when designing courses
Learner-centeredness shifts responsibility for learning to students by creating varied learning opportunities and multiple evaluation options that allow students to make choices and determine how they will demonstrate their learning (Weimer, 2002). Learner-centered course designs simultaneously hold students responsible for their learning and provide allowances for flexibility when life “interrupts” their studies, while preserving our “lines in the sand” for academic standards and our sanity.
Students need to know that submitting work late creates obstacles for getting and using feedback effectively. Still, life sometimes gets in the way of the best of intentions. Instructors who provide flexible solutions for these situations create opportunities for students to manage deadlines and learn material without delivering instructions or course material multiple times.
Examples of course design ideas that accomplish this:
Weimer, M. (2002). Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
This tip was adapted from a contribution to the Teaching and Learning Writing Consortium, (sponsored by Western Kentucky University) by Mark Potter, Center for Faculty Development, Metropolitan State College of Denver (http://www.mscd.edu/cfd/).
March 30, 2010
Use effective grading strategies to help survive the demands of grading during finals week
Thanks to Sally L. Kuhlenschmidt, Ph.D., Director, Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching (FaCET), Western Kentucky University, for contributions to this teaching tip.
Updated 10/09/12 cdw
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