I liked my post “So what have you learned?” I liked the picture I used and the fact that I was honest about the learning journey I’m on.
The two or three most important ideas from this course were the notion that feedback is an even larger piece in helping people learn than I realized. It also was striking that as teachers we’re often not on track when we give feedback. I found the SOLO taxonomy very useful too. While I used active verbs to describe learning objectives in the past, I never knew that it came from this taxonomy!
I am wondering how best to give students from communalistic backgrounds better feedback. I will do some more reading and talk to peers about how they do this. Additionally, I am thinking about how best to incorporate higher level thinking skills. I will look at what I do and see how it fits with those categories.
Specifically I will use pictures and video/audio clips when I teach.
I will add more higher level cognitive activities in my course.
I want to find out what feedback works best for my students and will survey them to get feedback.
I’d say on the whole the feedback I give is at the first, second and fourth level. Much of my feedback is specific and students state that they understand where the course is going. However, I am certainly guilty of using self-feedback and was interested to see how relatively useless that is. On the other hand, it is mostly paired with specific marks on a rubric so students can see where they went off track.
I think in order to improve effectiveness I need to address the needs of collectivistic and individualistic participants. I also need to focus on helping students learn to self-regulate by highlighting the strategies they use that are successful.
I looked at the course outline for the psychological assessment course I will be teaching. Students are expected to identify, differentiate, characterize, analyze, define, explain and implement a plan, prepare a report, demonstrate relevant skills and integrate the material.
Learning outcomes seem to, on the whole, reflect high level cognitive skills. The course also has some lower level cognitive skills such as identifying and defining. These are useful as building blocks for higher level skills.
Student learning is assessed through discussion with colleagues, 2 quizzes, a test critique/presentation, case study and a final project which is a self-report.
The learning outcomes and assessment appear to be well aligned. Students will have to identify and explain their thinking in discussion groups and in the written assignments they prepare. They will also have to analyze, explain and demonstrate their skills in the case presentation, case study and self-report. The self-report requires that students integrate course material and apply it to a real life person-themselves. These three activities in particular include a number of high level cognitive skills that are either relational or extended abstract in nature.
The quizzes are a small part of the final mark and they too are aligned to the learning outcomes as they require students to identify, describe and define. However, they mostly measure unistructural skills.
Two of the course objectives that seem to limit students to unistructural or multi-structural responses are:
- Define concepts related to psychometrics and statistics involved in instrument development, reliability coefficients, variance, standardized and converted scores (T-scores, z-scores), validity, and measures of central tendency.I would add to this: Apply these concepts and illustrate how to use them in a self-report.
- Define assessment as related to counselling and describe how it is part of the larger counselling process.I might add to this; justify your use/non-use of a formal and/or informal assessment in a given case study.
Taking this lesson helped me in a number of ways. Firstly once again I realize how much I still don’t know:) However it became apparent that some of the skills I have in face to face are transferable as principles. The principles of respect, inclusion and connection include important elements of social and cognitive learning principles.
As for gaps between post 1 and now, the Garrison et al. (2004) article emphasized the importance of critical thinking and the components of creativity, problem solving, intuition and insight. I liked that they acknowledged the importance of intuition and insight as well as actively problem solving. It made me really wonder how to better include these elements in a course. The challenges of social presence and engagement became clearer to me.
As for the questions I’d like to explore:
how to best use triggering events to support educational outcomes
how to mobilize the community to talk to and learn from. How well does this work if there are only one or two students at a time?
how does one best assess people’s contributions?
how to encourage a greater frequency of responses for resolution and integration? Maybe application is even harder in on-line but its inclusion seems vital.
As for an example of effective cognitive presence, this course is a good example. We had to think about where we were starting from, engage with new ideas, think about the material, post our ideas for comments and then ponder how to apply what we’ve learned in our real life situations.
High quality on-line learning environments should be easy to navigate, have understandable instructions and encourage connection to other learners. These qualities are important so that learners feel confident about interacting with the material as well as feeling supported in the process.
One of the things I’ve learned about teaching in the last year is that clear step by step instructions are invaluable in helping learners proceed throught a course successfully.
I’m intrigued to see how the on-line teaching system works in actuality at TRU. I wonder what my blackboard course actually looks like, whether I can make any changes to it and how learners will experience the course.