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Assessment and Evaluation in the Online Classroom

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  Assessment and Evaluation in the Online Classroom – EDU 762Final ProjectSherry Simmons Introduction When teaching any course it is essential when assessing students that we make sure thatwe are not only evaluating the course goals and objectives but that our assessments areauthentic. By authentic I mean assessment that demonstrates students’ ability to applyknowledge and skills to the real world and make it meaningful and applicable. AlthoughI understand the importance of authentic learning and have always tried to make myevaluations authentic – in the past I have not made the time and effort to explore newtechnology to use in my online course evaluations. This course has not only introducedme to a variety of technology available for instructors to use but it has forced me todevelop assessments that are useful and authentic using this technology. For this project Ihave chosen for my assessments a Wiki page, a survey, a discussion forum and for acomprehensive course assessment an electronic portfolio. The course that I havedeveloped assessments for is one that I am currently teaching – DevelopmentalPsychology. Description of Course and Student Population Developmental Psychology is generally a second year course with Intro to Psychology asa prerequisite. It is a comprehensive course which covers the development in three broaddomains – the biological, cognitive and psychological across the lifespan or from “thewomb to the tomb.”I currently teach Developmental Psychology both face-to-face and online. I am also in the process of developing a “blended course” for this course to be offered next fall. Theofficial description of this course is that it provides the opportunity for the learner todevelop the knowledge, skills, processes and understanding of human developmentthroughout the life span. It explores developmental theory and research with an emphasison the interactive nature of the biological, cognitive, and psychosocial changes that affectthe individual from conception to death.The students who normally take the course include nursing and health students, childdevelopment students, and general studies transfer degree students. A large majority of students enrolled in the two year technical college are nontraditional students with anaverage age of 28. Many of the students have lost their jobs and are returning to school to be trained in a new field. Minority students represent 15 to 20 percent of the student population. Course Learning Objectives Covered in Project I will be selecting only a few of the objectives from this course to use in this project.Some of the objectives are specific to a certain topic for a learning plans and some arecomprehensive because they are for the final course evaluation.1  ã Explore student attitudes and preconceived ideas in regards to child discipline prior to introduction of course topic and research. ã Students will compare and assess their attitudes in regards to child discipline after research and discussion. ã Explore student attitudes in regards to child discipline after research anddiscussion. ã To encourage students to apply critical thinking skills to the area of childdiscipline. ã Students will apply various theoretical frameworks to development issues. ã Students will analyze and connect developmental issues related physical/biological, cognitive and psychological changes across the lifespan. ã Students will evaluate the integration of genetics and environmental influences ondevelopment. Assessment Tool # 1 – Zoomerang Survey Online surveys can be excellent to gather information on attitudes, opinions, experiences,expectations, needs, demographics and descriptive data. (Using Surveys for Assessment)Online surveys can easily be adapted for online student assessment.A survey is a great way to collect quantitative data about a group of people. “Surveys areusually standardized in such a way as to eliminate bias. For example, the response to onesurvey question should not alter a response to another question.” (Center for InstructionalTechnology & Training)A survey can be used in a variety of ways. You may give a survey to gather specific datafrom a particular group of people or you may give the same survey twice during different periods of time to discover differences or variations in responses. (Center for Instructional Technology & Training)One of the main reasons to use a survey in a general studies course is to determine if students and faculty believe that the goals and objectives of the course are being met. Benefits of an Online Survey Zoomerang’s surveys are easy to design, easy to use, offers free templates whichminimizes design time and there is nothing to install. You are able to see the results of therespondents immediately. Most people who use the survey report that they are pleased.With online surveys teachers have the ability to select questions types and many toolshave the capability to upload “support material, such as video and images.” (Bouct)“Online surveys can calculate the percentages of student who answered questionscorrectly, allowing teachers to get a sense of class data as a whole, while also allowingeducators to look at individual student responses to the assessment.” (Bouct) Theinterface is easy to use and allows you to either add names and addresses by hand or 2  import them from a text file. You can also track an individual’s identity through thesurvey. You can design a survey and store it and edit and reuse it for different surveys. Challenges of an Online Survey Students may enter false information, or information that they believe the instructor wants and so the survey may be inaccurate.Although online surveys can be adapted to be used for assessment they do not offer shared “content area assessments form which teachers can select, nor do they allowteachers to enter responses for the online program to correct” and so they are not wellsuited to provide immediate feedback to the students and teachers”(Bouct) Some of the problems with this type of assessment is that students may only answer some of thequestions or none of the questions. Plagiarism Although the likelihood of plagiarism in a survey is not great however students mayfalsify their responses for a number of reasons as stated above in the challenges of anonline survey; Learning Objectives:  1. Explore student attitudes and preconceived ideas in regards to child discipline prior tointroduction of course topic and research.2. Students will compare and assess their attitudes in regards to child discipline after research and discussion. Bloom’s Taxonomy: Knowledge and Evaluation Activity: Before the introduction of the topic of child discipline and the researching of the topicstudents will take a pre-survey in regards to child discipline. This survey will be used asa “springboard” to not only introduce the topic but to allow the students to compare their results with that of surveys taken in the general public. The results of the survey will bediscussed in class and compared to what the research shows in regards to discipline andideas and backgrounds of people who use various types of discipline It also allows theinstructor to have an understanding of the student’s prior knowledge of the subject. After they have researched the topic and written a paper discussing their findings and entered adiscussion board they will complete a post survey to allow them to reflect on how their attitudes may or may not have changed as a result of research and discussion. The purpose is to help students understand that many of their ideas are determined by their  past experiences, culture, and preconceptions of what type of discipline works and why.3  Assessment Tool # 2 – Discussion Forum Since I already use Blackboard discussion forums for my online course - I will continueto use Blackboard for the discussions - however I will now have a clearer, more directiveidea of how to design authentic assessment for this tool.“Discussion Boards are reflective in nature. They force students to read other  perspectives and carefully consider a response. As students reflect upon what they wantto write in a discussion board posting, they often integrate research or class readings withwhich they are familiar. This occurs more frequently in discussion board postings than inface-to-face discussion, largely because of the extra time a student has to think about their response.” (Academic Technology Center) Benefits Some of the benefits include the following: ã Students are more likely to interact with each other  ã Students are more likely to share their research findings and include their views. ã Students are more likely to answer each others questions freeing up time for theinstructor. ã And finally “In discussion bards the bias often exhibited towards non-whites andwomen in face-to-face classes is reduced, resulting in a more instructionallyagreeable environment” (Academic Technology Center) Challenges: ã Lack of student participation ã Managing large number of posts ã Students feel overwhelmed with posts that they feel they may have to read andrespond to ã Repetition of information in the posts. Learning Objective:  1.Explore student attitudes in regards to child discipline after research anddiscussion.2.To encourage students to apply critical thinking skills to the area of childdiscipline. Bloom’s Taxonomy: Knowledge and Analyze Plagiarism: Because this assignment requires students to reflect on their research and to describe howit has influenced their thinking that plagiarism is not likely.4
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