otl101-Post 3

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.

otl301 post 3 Designing aligned learning experiences

The learning outcomes are for a graduate course in psychological assessment.

  1.  Outline the steps required to perform an ethical formal psychological assessment in a setting of your choice with a child, teen or adult.
  2. Critically analyze the reliability and validity of a given psychological assessment and outline its suitability for use with clients from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Some learning activities for outcome #2 could be:

First reading the relevant course material, listening/viewing a case example that the instructor works through and then submitting a case study where the learner critically analyzes the suitability of a test they’ve chosen for a client from a diverse linguistic and cultural background.

otl201 post3 Thoughts on engagement

I think one of the most important concepts that has impacted my thoughts on student engagement and retention during this course is that there is no significant difference between different media when it comes to student achievement.  Yet when students are asked what they prefer, they like video presentation of ideas. This reinforces the notion that we like connection to others whether in person or on-line.

Additionally, as Vaughan et al. suggest, video introductions to the course environment and short tutorials on difficult course concepts or problems really help students. Finally talking about one’s experience with the course material as an instructor and encouraging students to do so also makes a demonstrable difference in student engagement.Best pic of me

As a result, I plan to use a picture of me on every post I make. I will make sure to use a conversational tone, be respectful, positive and encouraging to students.  Also, once I get my course, I will provide a short video introduction to it and provide short tutorials that highlight practical personal application on difficult course concepts.  I also will make sure to respond in a timely fashion to questions and to contact students who haven’t posted asap to show them that I’m present. Asking students what worked and what didn’t work is another way to help increase engagement as well as to improve the course.

As for questions, at this point I haven’t taught the course so it’s tough to be more specific until I actually see how social presence plays out with my students when I’m actually teaching.  I wonder if teaching graduate students makes a difference in terms of engagement in that they may have more desire to learn the material for their career?

A few strategies to help me out are to make sure I look at other’s ideas for increasing social presence ( I’ve got some links on my blog there).  TRU has links to some great material from UBC and UVic too.  I can also ask colleagues such as the online learning coordinator for ideas as well as my faculty mentor.