Posts Tagged ‘learning goals’
December 5 - Designing Assignments that Accomplish Course Goals
I’m betting that many of you are in the midst of grading a large stack of papers, projects or other final assignments. Too often these end-of-course pieces of work don’t live up to our expectations or students’ potential. It’s easy for us (especially the elders among us) to bemoan the fact that students aren’t what they used to be. It’s better to use our discontent to consider whether our course assignments are effectively accomplishing our course goals.
Sometimes, in informal conversations with colleagues, I hear a statement like this, “Yeah, not a great semester, I doled out a lot of C’s.” I wonder, did this professor create learning goals that were unobtainable by most of the class or did this professor lack the skills to facilitate learning? I present this provocative lead-in as an invitation to reflect upon our presuppositions regarding grading.
October 21 - Learning Goals for Students
As Barbara Walvoord and Virginia Anderson point out in their venerable book on grading (now available in a revised 2nd edition) goals can motivate students. Unfortunately, too often they are motivated only by the goal of getting grades and getting courses out of the way. Walvoord and Anderson suggest you tell student you know they
September 27 - Deciding What Your Students Must Learn
You were hired because of your deep subject matter expertise; knowledge you want to share with your students. The problem is, the number of hours in a typical semester hasn’t changed, but the amount of information in your discipline continues to grow…and it’s all critical. Or is it?
The findings of a recent study documenting differences between the priorities that faculty and students give to various learning goals will not come as a surprise to many. Those differences are an undercurrent that flow through most classes.
Avid golfers and baseball players often talk about the elusive “sweet spot.” Find it, and you can make the ball go exactly where you want it to go, almost effortlessly. There’s a sweet spot to teaching, too. And, just like in sports, it takes a little experimentation to find and is a thing of beauty when you get it right.
It’s a balancing act educators often face …how to structure interactions with students to provide appropriate levels of assistance, while encouraging them to take ownership of their learning. In preparation for an online seminar on this topic Dr. Ike Shibley, associate professor of Chemistry at Penn State – Berks, provided a few strategies for faculty to try.
As a former editor in the business profession and now educator, I see connections between business and classroom best practices, especially applying professional development plans and performance reflection exercises as academic learning agreements in order to promote student leadership and engagement.
A survey released last month suggests that many colleges and universities are reforming their general education programs and developing new curricular approaches and educational assessment strategies for measuring key learning outcomes. As institutions review their general education programs, many are choosing to incorporate more engaged and integrative curricular practices.
My philosophy of teaching can better be described as a philosophy of learning. In order to be an effective instructor, I must focus on student learning and adjust my teaching strategies in response to the pace and depth of student understanding. I view teaching as an interaction between an instructor and a student; thus, the impact of this interaction on learning, rather than my activities as an instructor, is of primary importance.