Thursday, December 8, 2011

Assessing - and My Assessment of This Course

Before last semester and my SPED class I had never heard of - and presumably never seen - this strange thing called a 'rubric'.  Perhaps using them has developed since early 90s?  Perhaps letting the students IN on how they are being graded is the post-90s development. 
I happen to both like them as a student, and think they are an effective tool from the educator's point of view.  It lays out a clear map to gauge each student's work by (I think we have all considered the situation of grading papers and how if one has graded a bunch of great ones, then has a bad one, then that bad one might not be graded as harshly as if it followed a long string of other tiresomely-bad ones!), to keep the grading consistent.  It also gives clear guidelines for students to know, as much as is appropriate for them to know, just what they should focus their energies on, and how to best present their hard work.  This is of course a great boone for the student who can produce excellent work but simply struggles to find that 'start' point, a base to launch off from. 
I had also never heard of 'clickers', but, as I have expressed elsewhere in this blog I believe (and certainly within my eFolio site ( I think these provide an excellent way to encourage student participation (even among the shyest) in many different situations, and carry the benefit of the teacher getting immediate feedback on the subject in hand, and how well the class have grasped it  - whether the time is good to move on, or more work is first needed.  There is sometimes little point in moving on if the current stage is not understood, and these can provide that instant insight. 
As is the backbone of this entire course, "technology based assessment could also address another need presented by implementation of learning environments to support complex learning outcomes" (Jonassesn et al, 2008, pg. 219), and this course both introduces the concepts of many of these tech-based environments, tools, assessment methods, and assesses using them. The ePortfolio is of course the key example, drawing together all of the work learnt, studied, produced over the course, and through the learning of another web2.0 tool (the eFolio itself) enabling the student to present their work in an impressive, professional-looking manner, and the professor to get all the students' work in, all neatly 'tied together' in a bundle.

This course, in my opinion, and despite my personal practical difficulties with computer/internet access, has been enlightening, engaging, (frustrating and) fun! I have learnt a lot about so many of the topics touched on - copyright, MAPping information (both fascinating), blogging, glogging (seems very glitchy and this a beta or something?), twitter (unfortunately having needed to open an account there, I began to get junk through it toward the end of the semester); writing about Multiple Intelligences and Bloom's Taxonomy taught me a lot. In many instances, material in this course has backed up, reminded me, reaffirmed material learnt in previous education courses. Some of it is beginning to stick!
I honestly feel somewhat proud of my eFolio even though it does not yet function entirely as I would wish, and a couple of its functions are glitchy and I haven't yet figured why (the contents - the projects - are fine, but the folio's treatment of them is not quite right, and I wish I could figure how to add a clock :( !)

Thank you, Dr Aliefendic, for this course, and for guiding me into learning all that I have through it.
My final task, I guess, is to continue to work those glitches - perhaps until the eleventh hour (although I certain don't hope and aim for that to be the case!)

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