Grade Smarter Not Harder
Pedagogy in Practice
By Catherine Ford
Assessment and feedback are still important, so if you don’t already, now is an excellent time to grade smarter, not harder. Three academic years of pandemic has exhausted the reservoir of energy for many. How can you implement meaningful, often online, assessment in an effective way that provides data and a feedback loop to both students and instructors? Are your current assessment or grading practices labor intensive? Do you offer frequent low stakes quizzes? Do either or both of these forms of assessment push up against or beyond your bandwidth? There is truth here. Many instructors are tapped out and don’t feel they have energy, time, or capacity to take on more let alone maintain the level of engagement and assessment pre- or early pandemic.
Don’t feel that you need to reinvent the wheel. Consider Carnegie Mellon’s Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational innovation that provides an overview, examples, and tools for various types of assessment that are not time intensive. Western University’s Centre for Teaching and Learning provides numerous grading strategies and recommendations ranging from grading guidelines and developing grading techniques.
A common theme across university and college centers for teaching and learning and education web resources to reduce time intensity of grading and assessments are to utilize rubrics and Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs). For example University of Nebraska Medical Center Office of Academic Affairs offers recommendations for 5 Time-Saving Tips that Boost Student Learning highlighting rubrics, and Iowa State University’s Center for Excellence in Learning and teaching identifies Classroom Assessment Techniques (CAT) as a tool to efficiently assess student learning and provide feedback.
Another area to explore are online assessment tools such as quizzing with automated scoring. Online assessment tools such as those available in D2L can be quick and easy to score and have features that can minimize some dishonest behaviors especially if in conjunction with well written questions. The Network for Educational Development (NED) has a 3 week short course specific to improving online assessments, which can also save time by considering efficient design techniques and technology strategies. Consider the Grade Smarter Not Harder short course beginning January 31, 2022.
Looking for a deeper dive into assessment of student learning? Register for the Hacking Your Course Assessments short course beginning in February.
Accessibility Resources and Development Opportunities
Academic Technology Tips
By Scott Wojtanowski
Last month, I attended an informational session that colleagues in the Marketing and Communications division of the Minnesota State, held to showcase a revised Brand Identify Manual for system office and collaborations within Minnesota State. One positive item that caught my attention was a brief section on ways to make materials accessible. Although this manual was not focused at teaching and learning examples, I saw of the information that reinforces the resources and development opportunities created by and available to my colleagues at the colleges and universities of Minnesota State. Here are a few examples of accessibility resources and development opportunities that are focused on teaching and learning:
Although not intended to be an authoritative site on accessibility, a community of accessibility-focused around Minnesota State maintain this site which provides resources associated with creating captions and transcripts for instructional videos, as well as quick guides on ways you can make your course documents accessible. If you are not an individual with vision loss or a person who is blind, you may not be familiar with what to consider. If you are of the mindset, like I once was, “if someone needs an accommodation in my course, I will work with them,” you may find that the steps need to make materials accessible beforehand is not too laborious. Additionally, there are a number of students who do not utilize accommodation services, but benefit when materials are in an accessible format.
This video is also available on Kaltura MediaSpace
Short Courses available through the NED Events Calendar
The Accessibility Resource Site is great spot to get information in a do-it-yourself approach, but there are also opportunities available for you to practice these skills and to get feedback from colleagues. Join an upcoming short course this spring. In February, the NED is providing another offering of the new Equity and Technology short course – which has already received rave reviews from previous participants. In March you can once again sign up for the ever popular Accessible Digital Media short course.
With additional funding from Inver Hills Community College, Metropolitan State University, and Minneapolis College, the Accessibility Committee of the Academic and Student Affairs at the system office are sponsoring a series of online opportunities focused on disability justice. Join us January 26 at 10:00 a.m. for the session titled, Disability Justice: Why It’s Everybody’s Business. This is the first of five opportunities that are available this spring. As Dr. Kendi and Rebecca Cokley suggested in their podcast episode, Be Antiracist with Ibram X. Kendi, ableism and racism are “roots of the same tree.”
The Accessibility Resource Site suggests that accessibility requires intentionality. As noted, the term accessible refers to the intentional design or redesign of technology, policies, products, and services (to name a few) that increase one’s ability to use, access, and obtain the respective item.
So, in this month’s digest, dear reader, I acknowledge the diversity of my students, and recognize that I cannot provide an equal experience to all students, unless I am intentional about creating accessible documents that are inclusive of the different abilities of students – that is equity (at least to me). How about you?
NED Year In Review
Did You Know?
By Megan Babel
The numbers are in! Review the image below to view just a few the Network for Educational Development’s 2021 accomplishments. The NED is thankful to all Minnesota State faculty and staff who helped develop, facilitate, promote, and participated in the NED events offered in 2021. We are excited for what 2022 has in store and encourage you to continue to grow with your Minnesota State community personally and professionally.
Spring 2022 Short Courses and Faculty Learning Communities are open for registration now, as well as several webinars. Check back often as webinars will continue to be added throughout the term. Receive a weekly Upcoming Events email by becoming a member of the NED Resource Site.
From the ASA Technology Council
Watch the following short video overview of the last ASA Technology Council held on December 8, 2021.