Rethink Finals

The end of the semester is upon us. A season many students, and instructors, dread…final exam season. Over the last week, I have been thinking about the effectiveness of my exams. Not all, but many are your typical exam. I started to plan review games, worksheets, or outlines and thought, “Is this helping me know what they know?” Since then I have been on a mission to change the end of my semester.

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Staying On Course Through Student Self Assessment

We all know the value of feedback and assessment; it’s part of the job as an instructor, even if it’s not our favorite part of the job. There are many creative approaches to meaningful assessment in any class, but a tried and true favorite of mine has always been student self-assessment. Being able to recognize one’s own strengths and weaknesses is a core value and important employability skill (360 degree feedback, anyone?) Nicely timed, it’s also closely related to Downing’s On Course principles, giving many of my in-class self-assessments a much-needed facelift. Continue reading

Rubrics That Encourages Individuality

In Wikipedia, a scoring rubric is defined as “a standard of performance for a defined population.” Unfortunately the phrase “standard” equates to students following the confines of the rubric and often receiving assignments that appear to come from the same cookie cutter. Then we wonder why the student hasn’t taken the initiative to go above and beyond the requirements.  Wouldn’t it be great if they took the initiative?

So give students the permission to be creative and take the initiative in making the knowledge their own…

5 Ways to Blow the Top Off of Rubrics

Assessing Core Abilities in Automation 3, 4 and 5

How can you assess core abilities in Automation classes?  How do you get quantative data when assessing “soft” skills?  The task needs to be relevant and include a mix of  technical and non-technical skills.  So, in week 4, students write and facilitate the solution to their own final review questions.  Continue reading

Student’s don’t do Optional…but they will do Options

As an instructor and a student I know that optional work is not something I get excited about. Well, maybe I do because I have the choice to not do it and lighten my work load. From a student perspective, optional means it will not hurt my grade if I don’t do it. I have discovered that optional opens up a world of motivation. Continue reading

Seriously!?! A Test EVERY Day?!?

Today Show Frequent Testing

Very early on in my teaching career, I realized the importance of helping my students develop study habits that promote success. The content I taught, anatomy and physiology, was very dense and did not lend itself well to “cramming” (although what content does?). I began giving students small quizzes every class meeting, covering the material I delivered the class period prior. Continue reading