Educational Development Digest: December 2022

End of Term Grading Reflections for Students and Instructors

Pedagogy in Practice | By Catherine Ford, Program Director for Educational Development

The end of the semester is here, and grades are likely the focus for students and instructors. Students may ask themselves what their final grade will be for the course. Or they may wonder if their final grade will reflect what they have learned in the course?

Binder full of papers

Instructors may ask how much grading is left to complete? What are the steps to make final grades visible to students in D2L? When is the last day to submit final grades? Perhaps these are just the initial questions on your mind about grading and the end of the term. Maybe you are also reflecting further on your grading approach in your course and if it truly reflects student learning and achievement of course learning objectives.

Consider a deeper dive into your grading or into alternative grading approaches. Is this a portfolio? Mastery-based grading? Specs grading? Ungrading? This may seem like the wrong time to consider changes to your grading approach; it is the end of the semester after all!  You’re right in that you shouldn’t make changes to your current courses; however, it is an appropriate time for you to consider the following.

Reflect on your grading practices, possibly considering changes to next term’s approach

Feflect on your grading beliefs and actions. Why do you implement your grading approach? This can be a time to consider transitioning your next semester grading approach or making incremental adjustments to your current grading system and start planning for the spring term. For example, reflect on each item receiving points, why do these earn points? Do they have direct alignment to a learning objective? What is and is not included in your grading (attendance, low stakes formative quizzes, etc.) and why? What might you change, why, and how?

Facilitate your students’ reflections on their overall course learning while de-emphasizing the projected final course grade during this activity

Facilitate student reflection on what they have learned in your course over the term. Highlight their growth and accomplishments in a different form other than a grade. Revisit the course outcomes from your syllabus and ask students to reflect on them including what assignments or activities helped them achieve these outcomes. This reflection on learning may also support a growth mindset by providing an example of individualized progress over a term.

Over the next few weeks, reflect on your grading practices especially as they relate to the end of your courses and encourage formally or informally your students to do the same as it relates to their learning.  Regardless of if you intend to initiate changes or adjustments to your grading practices, write down a few of your reflections or share them in a discussion with a colleague. What do you want to explore? What are the barriers and strengths to something new? What will be one thing new you’ll consider next term?

Using learner analytics as instructional insights

Academic Technology Tips | Brock Behling, Program Director for Instructional Technology

When all my course assessments are graded, I try to take time to reflect on the effectiveness of my instructional practices. To help with this, I have been incorporating a more comprehensive data set with learner analytics to further analyze what I believed to be constants and any potential variables that may have impacted the desired outcomes for various activities. Critical reflection on this data can hopefully help bring about insights into successfully providing equitable learning experiences that engage, challenge, and reward all learners through transformative growth as they continue to actively contribute to the collective learning in higher education.     

View Statistics in D2L

The final grade statistics in D2L lets you view details about an entire class, a group, or a sections’ overall grades for a course. Analyzing the grade distribution and basic statistical measures included like the average, median, mode, standard deviation and range can help you continuously adjust teaching strategies to leverage equitable learning experiences. Specific grade items can be grouped in categories which can help with quickly aggregating data for analysis. Intervention strategies like setting graded items to automatically display in the calendar, associating intelligent agents with the items, and incorporating and encouraging subscriptions to notifications for specific actions can all be analyzed to identify impact of interventions that supplement existing methods used to address potential support gaps.    

Other engagement reports in D2L like user or class progress can even be used for students who withdrew from the course, which again can provide valuable insight into potential barriers that may have prevented successful completion. Kaltura and Zoom have robust analytic and reporting capabilities as well. 

Video Performance in Kaltura

These reports allow you to explore the level of interactions for the participants or viewers of specific content or synchronous sessions. If you are looking for attendance or poll reports from a Zoom session, navigate to the usage reports for your account, or if you would like to see a user engagement heatmap indicating which parts of a video individuals watched more often than others, you can find this in your individual video analytics through Kaltura.

The availability and detail of the data from these enterprise solutions allows for almost immediate feedback that instructors can act upon. Using research-based high-impact practices can help with equity work and is a recommended component of the continuous course quality improvement process. If you are looking for more immediate results from the effort you are putting in, I encourage you to take some time to explore the impact of your teaching, through learner analytics.

Seeking an Equity and Inclusion Coordinator

Did You Know? | By Scott Wojtanowski, System Director for Educational Technology and Development

Since 2018, the Network for Educational Development (NED) has expanded the number of development opportunities focused on academic equity. These opportunities were initiated, in large part, by a cadre of faculty members called NED Equity and Inclusion Coordinators. After a coordinator’s three year term (renewed annually) is complete, we seek out a new colleague to join the group. If you are particularly passionate about working with your colleagues to advance equity and inclusion in the courses we teach, please consider the opportunity below.  

Educational Development and Technology (formerly Educational Innovations) and the Office of Equity and Inclusion are seeking to identify one Equity and Inclusion Coordinator.

The coordinator will work with two current coordinators to assist in aligning educational development opportunities for faculty within the NED and the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

Eligible candidates must currently hold a position in a Minnesota State university.

Learn more on the ASA Newsletter and submit your expression of interest by December 16, 2022.


View past editions of the Educational Development Digest.

Visit the NED Events Calendar to view upcoming educational development opportunities. Visit the NED Resource Site for recordings of previous webinars and additional resources.

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