Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Evaluations and other articles in JIHE

Just reading a bit this morning in the Journal of the Internet and Higher Education for this month - quite a few papers in the alert caught my eye. The article on peer-assessment is similar to what we do in Year 2 with students although they undertake a group presentation. I note that they stop short, as we do, of getting students to mark each other's work, as a tutor would. This is an understandably conservative route, but I was a little disappointed... I also noted from Owsten et al's lecture capture paper that it seemed to be most used by lower performing students, but in a way that I would decry. These students are viewing the entire lecture, whereas the higher performers were locating the chunks they wanted to access again. The paper does not really help us to know which way to read this relationship and it continues to bemuse me. Would the low-achievers become high-acheiver if only they could take a better approach to their studies..?

In the conclusion to Dziuban and Moskal's paper I found this:
The class for many contemporary students is an increasingly complex network of interactions. Recently in discussing generational difference a student said to the authors, “You will learn by reading a book or the manual. We will learn through interaction with each other and the Internet.” (Hartman, Dziuban, & Brophy-Ellison, 2007). If this is true, then end-of-course evaluations offer very little opportunity for interaction. Perhaps one should consider new instructional evaluation protocols that are not summative and after the fact, but instead those that are more reflective and interactive. The opportunity cost involved would require a much greater investment of time and resources, but good news is that such an approach would increase the student voice in their learning and support a more collaborative educational environment.
I had not read this kind of philosophical rationale for moving to a more formative style of evaluation, which is greatly underused IMHO. Our evaluation forms have recently been under review in the light of the National Student Survey questionnaire. But it begs the question whether we can really account for the kinds of learning experience students are experiencing at an individual level when so much of it happens almost as a co-incidence of their ability to make connections (of all kinds). It must be our role as designers of education to do what we can to assure the potential for students to do that... embracing formative evaluation must be part of that...

Dziuban, C., & Moskal, P. (2011). A course is a course is a course: Factor invariance in student evaluation of online, blended and face-to-face learning environments. The Internet and Higher Education, 14(4), 236-241. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2011.05.003