I’m “reflecting” a lot these days. My tenure review is a few months away, and it’s time for me to prove (in one fell swoop) that my students are learning. The complexity of this testimonial overwhelms me because in the context of the classroom experience, there are multiple sources of data and no clear-cut formula for truth.
In more than 20 years of teaching, I have learned that too much information frustrates rather than inspires students. Today, however, with a few clicks of the computer mouse, any teacher can retrieve an overabundance of information. What is more, courseware makes distributing this information to students amazingly easy. As a result, teachers risk (unintentionally) giving students much more information than they can reasonably digest, including electronic texts, supplementary texts, and background information. The key to avoiding information overload is remembering course goals.
As students and the accreditation bodies that regulate colleges and universities demand direct-evidence of student learning, being able to connect learning outcomes to assessments is increasingly important. ExamSoft, the leading provider of intelligent embedded assessment solutions, today announced updates to its platform that will help faculty members and institutions get information in real time and intervene earlier with students. Built for faculty, the new release offers simpler navigation, streamlined question creation, the ability to blueprint exams by learning outcome, and easier student management and report creation.
Most teachers work to add interest to lecture material in an attempt to gain student attention. If they aren’t attending, they aren’t listening, and if they aren’t listening, it’s pretty hard to imagine them learning anything from a lecture. But is there a point at which the interesting details are more arresting than the content? And if that’s so, do those kinds of details get in the way of attempts to learn and apply content?
Meaningful program assessment requires faculty participation. The challenge of getting faculty involved and staying involved lies in convincing them that the benefits of educational assessment are worth any additional work it generates.
Faculty need to consider learning objectives, learning styles, accessibility, cost, and available technical support when designing distance learning courses, says Laurie Hillstock, manager of distance learning at Clemson University.
Hillstock works with faculty to develop satellite, CD-ROM, and Web-based courses using a design model that is roughly 80 percent asynchronous and 20 synchronous. Within this model, instructors can…