New workshop wikis

The nice thing about participating in workshops is that it forces you to update your resources and general knowledge about what is out there. Jan, kele, and I prepared a 2 hour version of our original 6 hour workshop on Digital Tools for Feedback and Assessment at the ETUG gathering last week, and in the process did some well-needed updating to the wikis that link the resources we talk about in the presentation. We moved them off the old careo server, so all the URLs have changed, and we added a few extra pages as well.

Unlike the workshop we do for the UBC audience, this one pushed us to locate tools that were available to everybody, and not just the UBC community. Most of the tools we talked facilitate peer feedback and group work, but some participants were looking for tools that provide computer generated feedback. Therefore I’ve included 2 new wiki pages for Concept Tutor and Quiz Image, two of my favorites from the Engage group at the University of Wisconsin.

The starting page is this one: Digital Tools
Voice tools
Track Changes
Concept Tutor
Quiz Image

As always, this was a great opportunity to learn from the participants and hopefully we’ll see some of their contributions to the wiki at some point, since it would be nice to know a bit more about how others are dabbling with tools and feedback in their own institutions.

Digital Tools for Feedback and Assessment

We had great participation at our workshop on Digital Tools for Feedback and Assessment–one of the things I love about giving workshops to the larger UBC community is that it gives me an opportunity to hear about other types of courses and other things going on outside of the courses I work with, which are largely in the Faculty of Dentistry.

In talking about the challenges of assessment, it was also interesting for me to hear just how much this juggling of instructor time/effort and providing good feedback and fair assessment is a challenge. This has certainly been my own experience this year while teaching 3 online courses, but I generally find assessment to be challenging, period.

The morning was largely a guided conversation on some of the thinking behind assessment practices as they relate to course objectives. Jan provided some great handouts that guided participants through creating an evaluation plan for their course, which lead to some interesting revelations on the part of some of the participants about their own courses.

We had several break-out sessions in the afternoon –Brad gave a demo on concept mapping and using Track changes, Jan got a few people going on creating assessment rubrics, Jeff and Brian got participants excited about wikis and Writely, Kele shared her expertise on e-portfolios and ELGG. I attempted a demo on voice tools, with a few (predicatable) technical blunders on the way. But the day was fun, and the feedback has been both positive and constructive.

There are 2 wiki pages that have been set up a reference to the day–it’s not terribly informative, but it gives an idea as to what was covered, with some links to the tools.
Digital Tools
Voice Tools

Feedback

As a graduate student, feedback was one of those things I didn’t care about getting until I actually stopped getting it. To be honest, a letter grade and an adjective has begun to make me feel like:

a) the instructor has skimmed my work, and is now assigning the prerequisite grade because it needs to be entered into the system
b) the process of taking courses is to get enough credits to enter into the system, then carry on with the real work (the research and the thesis)

As an instructional designer, I am aware of the pedagogical reasons why feedback is important, but understand that it is difficult for instructors to undertake. Providing feedback that is constructive and not ego damaging takes an incredible amount of precious time–and, lets face it, many instructors love the teaching part of instruction but loathe the assessment part.

I was happy to find this reference because I think it provides a simple, well presented set of suggestions for providing feedback to distance students. I especially like the strategies that they provide, since we so often talk to instructors at the level of the importance of feedback but often neglect to mention simple strategies for being able to provide it.

There are also some other good resources on this site that are worth perusing…