Evaluate Participation In Online Learning.
Evaluating participation in an online community is as difficult and rewarding as it is in a face-to-face community. How do you do it? It is difficult to measure or evaluate participation in an online learning community.
How Do You Evaluate Participation In An Online Learning Community?
Shawn Graham from Carleton University thinks it is difficult to evaluate participation in online learning and as rewarding in a face-to-face community.
So how to do it? It’s like going to put up X number of posts or 200 words weekly or three replies. It’s difficult to measure because we have to guard against measuring what is easy to measure versus what is necessary.
So one of the things that Shawn tries to look for is not quantity which is easy to measure but rather some kind of measurement of quality. For me, that can sometimes involve mapping out who is talking with whom and using various kinds of network metrics to see, well, who’s the person, who is the key player in all of this, who is the bridge between different groups of different conversations, who’s the person, whose interaction is the catalyst for larger conversations or longer conversations.
Identifying those whose contributions come at a timely or critical juncture, encouraging or focusing on them, and using them as allies helped foster that sense of community.
How To Measure Participation In An Online Learning Community?
Franco Taverna of the University of Toronto says it is easy to measure students’ participation online with synchronous style.
Evaluating students’ participation online is very easy. With the synchronous style of learning, they have to log in. So you know who was attending and there’s a record of everything that has happened.
There are ways of data mining. You know, to evaluate or to measure student participation, how many times did they type in something, how many times did they turn their microphone on. It’s very, very simple quantitatively and qualitatively because you know who is speaking. You have a name to the face or a name to the chatbox.
If you spend a little time assessing quality, it becomes quite trivial to evaluate student participation again.
Indeed it is something that I did, I found, or I thought it was very important when I first started teaching in the synchronous webinar format. I wanted students to attend. I didn’t want them to think that this is just an online course that will be recorded, and it’s their ticket not to come to class. On the contrary, I wanted them to attend because I wanted to clarify that there was very valuable stuff going on live that they would miss out on if they were just looking at the recording later on. So I made attendance worth something and participation worth something. It’s fairly easy to evaluate because you have a record of what’s going on.
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Students’ Participation In Online Learning
From the University of Waterloo, Bob Sproule thinks that because so much of the activity and engagement is occurring within teams. So many of the course activities involve the students doing things in their teams. There is a peer evaluation component in the course.
Bob does the evaluation twice in the course. He does it halfway through the course on a formative basis so that students are put into a situation where they have to provide feedback to their teammates. It’s not for any marks, and it’s simply to inform their teammates while the course is still going on what they are thinking about each of their peers and their peers’ contributions and perspectives and how they’re taking leadership and supporting their teammates, etc.
The process is then repeated at the end of the term on a summative basis, at which point it then contributes to the mark that a student receives. In addition, there is a major assignment submitted at the end of the course, and this major assignment is a team-based assignment.
The peer evaluation mark that a student receives is then used in determining the mark that the student will receive for the major team-based assignment at the end of the term.
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Evaluating Participation In An Online Learning Community
Tracy Penny Light from the University of Waterloo talked about two courses she had designed as online courses.
In both of the courses that she had designed online, one of the things that she wanted to ensure happened was modeling or at least stimulating to some extent. The experience students had in her face-to-face courses that were the same and in her face-to-face courses, what she did Was she always had students tend to be large classes divided into small groups. They work throughout the term. They have many opportunities to collaborate and discuss the course content and develop relationships, you know, work together. So they’re learning a whole set of skills. That setting feels nice in a face-to-face classroom because students you know feel like they are getting to know their classmates.
Students get lots of opportunities to share their ideas. She gets to know them because they’re working in those small groups. It makes a large class feel like a small class. So she wanted to translate that into the online setting, but of course, it’s much easier to do it, you know, face-to-face than online. So she had to think through really carefully, you know how we would design the course to simulate that same experience. Thinking through, you know how we would set up groups for students, collaborate, and how many times they would need to post.
One of the things that happened in the last course that She had designed, the Women’s Studies 101 course, was, you know, she was sort of struggling with how much feedback she needed to give and how often she needed to be in the classroom and how much the students needed to post to ensure that they were meeting the learning outcomes.
The course designer said to her, so when you’re in a face-to-face setting do you require students to provide evidence that they are participating in these discussions and she said, well, she could see that they’re doing it. So no, she didn’t, and so she said, well do you need them to do that online? You know, is it the experience you want them to have just had those conversations, or do you want to see evidence that they’re doing something for a grade. Penny Light said, well, really, it’s all about the experience she wants them to share, so that was a pivotal moment for her. Because she realized, oh you know this doesn’t exactly translate, and, what she’s doing in the face-to-face course, you know, makes a lot of sense. You know this is all about engaging them with the content, getting them to make connections and meaning out of what they’re learning.
Tracy doesn’t need to give students a grade for that, you know, so she had this like, oh, I probably don’t need to do that in the online course either. So she thought that was important because having that external perspective shifted her ideas about what she wanted them to do online. As a result, she’s changed how she’s structured some of the courses in terms of assessment. She does want to privilege students’ experience and their engagement.