Last semester I ran ANU computer project students through a "Learning to Reflect" blended module. This is the last assessed task for students undertaking the ANU Tech Launcher program before they graduate. Last semester the students read notes, watched videos, did an online quiz, participated in an on-line forum (with peer assessment), then a face-to-face workshop (run by Tempie Archer, from ANU Careers). They then submitted and assignment (with peer feedback), and repeated the process. That all worked well, but was seem by the students, and my colleagues, as too complex, and too much work. There was too much to read, too many assessment items, and too much peer assessment. Also the tutors, who the students have for face-to-face tutorials, felt excluded from the process.
So this semester the aim is to simplify the process, and involve the tutors more. One step could be to reduce, or remove the marks for the quizzes and forum contributions. These are primarily for formative purposes, to help the students learn. Awarding marks is a way to indicate students have learned the basics, and to give them an incentive to do the work. But these are experienced students, who are about to graduate: do they need these incentives?
The students were divided up by their level of study (undergraduate/postgraduate), with separate groups for each. The undergraduates peer assessed other undergraduates and postgraduates the postgraduates. However, these students are in mixed undergraduate/postgraduate teams for their projects, where they give feedback. So it may be better to put all the students for the teams under one tutor into one online group.
Students peer assessed two assignments. There were multiple levels of quality control on this, with a proportion being also assessed by staff, and any results which seemed inconsistent, unusually high or low also staff assessed. As reported in the literature, the peer assessment was as good as staff harassment. However, the students were not entirely comfortable with this. So an alternative is to have the tutors assess the final assignment (as was done in previous years). This should also have the effect of the students paying more attention to their tutors, as the tutors will mark the results. Of course that is more work and stress for tutors, but the did want to be more involved, didn't they? ;-)
While simplified, the tools and processes will be much the same as last year. Moodle will provide the notes, videos, quizzes, forums, and assignment submission facilities. There may be more use of online tools to help students identify their learning needs and prepare materials. This may lessen the need for face-to-face workshops (useful for coping with the Novel Coronavirus), but not eliminate the human touch.
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