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Monday, April 18, 2011

eLCC 2011

More on eLCC presentations:

I went to a presentation on a redesign of a geography course presented by Karen Kaemmerling and Sean Renner of CCCOnline.  This was a course that started with a very traditional set of assessments -- essay, a research paper, and some multiple choice exams.  They had changed the assessments to include:
  1. Discussions:  students chose a term from a bank of terms, find a current event that reflects that their chosen term, then submit the term and the event to the discussion board.  Students also have to respond to at least two peer submissions.
  2. Discussions part 2:  Student generated discussions.  Part of the student introduction requirement is that students browse the text and the course and submit 5 topics for future discussions.  The instructor will generate discussion questions based on those topics as everyone moves through the course.
  3. Video reflection assignment:  This is a journaling assignment rather than a formal writing assignment.  Students watch at least one of the videos that come with the text and write a journal response to that video.  (Two reasons for this assignment -- first, it does force students to watch the videos; and two, it uses the extra multi-media material that students are paying for.)
  4. Annotated Google map:  This is a more creative assignment that ask students to develop an annotated Google map.
  5. Course Project:  A scaffolded assignment that leads to a course presentation
    1. Thesis
    2. Bibliography
    3. Presentation proposal (similar to a conference proposal) and proposed visual aid
    4. Student generated rubric for grading
    5. Presentation:  can be recorded Powerpoint, some other presentation software with audio, video.  The final presentation is submitted to the discussion board.  Students have to comment on at least two other presentations.
The negative comments I heard were around the required amount of writing and the level of written work.  This is a GT transfer course, so is required to include written work.  I think that could be addressed through the first discussion assignment - if the current events pieces are required to be formal essays that means the course would have a significant essay assignment for each unit.  You could also require that a written version of the presentation be turned in.  That includes a bibliography and some formal research. (Here's a link to the general competencies for the GT Transfer courses:  They are interesting to read through again.)

I went to a second session on Google Maps delivered by Scott Houck and two others from Metro State College.  That session was focused more on digital story-telling with Google maps, but didn't offer many specific examples.  I like the idea of using annotated maps, pictures, and video in many classes.  I tried to design an assessment for the international trade unit of my economics course around it, but have so far failed.  It's easier for geography, literature, history, humanities courses (takes less imagination on my part).  If you've looked at some of what Michael Wesch does (youtube), some of his presentations use annotated maps in an exciting way.

Google maps might be very good at helping to add the community piece to a class -- and that helps a lot with student success and completion rates.  So many classes are designed with a series of somewhat boring essays and a couple of multiple choice exams (mine included).  It was nice to brainstorm with some creative, out-of-the-box thinkers.

Last, I enjoyed a session on Data Analytics led by Jon Sherrill of CCCOnline.  I want to go look at a tool called Snap and analyze my discussions with it.  He commented that we need to remember to use all the proposed analytics for the benefit of the students.  That may be obvious, but I agree that it can be forgotten in the rush to data.  It is very important that we begin to collect and analyze student data though -- it may help us to be more efficient, but almost more importantly it gives us a way to respond to Washington when they are planning regulations that may not help 2-year schools.


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