Learning Activities and Assessment – OLC

by | Feb 28, 2019 | Teaching | 0 comments

Going through this week’s assignment covering learning assessments and learning activities made me realize that I blur the lines on learning activity and assessment quite a bit. I have a total of 6 course-level learning objectives for NEU 300.

Two of those are content-based and can easily be broken up into smaller unit-level learning objectives. Example:

  • Course: Predict results of experiments and manipulations based on neuroscience concepts and content presented in the course
  • Unit: Predict changes in ion flow and membrane potential when provided with ion concentrations and permeabilities, ion channel mechanics, electrochemical gradient information, membrane potentials, and/or equilibrium potentials

These types of objectives seem to fit well into the learning-activity-then-assessment model

  • Learning Activity: I provide assignments that cover specific experiments, students see how the experiments work and what the results are, I scaffold some prediction questions into the assignments
  • Assessment: Questions on the exams about similar, but new, experiments

However, the other 4 course objectives are less clear cut. For example, besides the objective provided here, I have two other objectives dealing with effective communication and teamwork. These will be assessed during the weekly discussion forum using rubrics that detail my expectations of science communication and being a good team member. So essentially the learning activity and the assessment are the same (the discussion forum). I usually scaffold my expectations a bit by being more lenient with responses and providing more feedback in the beginning of the semester compared to the end, but I wasn’t planning on adjusting the rubric from the start to finish of the course.

A similar design is found in this week’s assignment. I want students to practice metacognition and evaluate their learning each week. My plan was to ask the same questions every week – but now I’m wondering if that is really a good plan. Plus, what is the learning activity for this objective? Is the assignment itself the learning activity and the assessment? Is correcting their work using the review videos the learning activity? Is prepping for the exam the learning activity? Do I need to do more besides just repeat questions each week to help them learn metacognition? Will they get frustrated with the same questions or will it provide consistency that they will appreciate?

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