1. Situational Factors Assuming you have done a careful, thorough job of reviewing the situational factors, how well are these factors reflected in the decisions you made about learning goals, feedback and assessment, learning activities?
Those factors are not taken into account with regard to learning goals. However, feedback and assessment can be done easily in form of a discussion or one-minute papers. Feedback can be instant. The learning activities, such as the think-pair-share, fishbowl, post-it exercises, are feasible.
What potential conflicts can you identify that may cause problems?
Situational problems can arise from the characteristics of the learners, the teacher, the subject. Students can see the library session as boring and/or ‘the famous trouble maker’ in the class who does not listen and acts out; there can be an issue between the teacher and the class in a way that there is not a connectedness in terms of Palmer Parkers book ‘Courage to teach’ or the topic such as MLA is boring to students and teachers do not know who to present it in an interesting way.
Are there any disconnects between your beliefs and values, the student characteristics, the specific or general context, or the nature of the subject in relation to the way you propose to run the course?
I belief that there are no disconnects between the beliefs and values as both sides base their interaction on respect and the idea to be here or education and free thinking. The economic situation of some of our students might lead to a kind of ‘why should I listen’ attitude but this might be the case for any student who comes to university because they have the feeling that they have to go to university. There is this obligation that students sometimes feel when it comes to education. Once students understand that it is their choice, their education, their attitude is different and the professor and the student are on the same page.
Maybe sometimes students expect a class to be a lecture but the interactive teaching style has not been a problem so far.
2. Learning Goals and Feedback & Assessment Issues to address include: How well do your assessment procedures address the full range of learning goals?
So far, I do not a lot of assessment. The one minute papers, quizzes are not frequent and we do not have the chance to give direct feedback to students. In a way, the educative assessment is losing here.
Sometimes, we do annotated bibliographies and in the past, we did some feedback session in the follow up sessions. Three to four students looked together at the annotated bibliographies and gave direct feedback to the each other. This worked somehow out but some students did not hear/accept the criticism on their annotations. The attitude was not helpful.
Is the feedback giving students information about all the learning goals?
No, not really as all learning goals are not clearly stated. Once they are clearly spelled out, assessment can pick up the issue. And yet, I have trouble spelling out learning goals such as critical thinking or creative thinking. Both terms come up over and over again in the discussion but both terms are – in my opinion – not easily measurable. In a way, it is like the IQ test. How can you measure/assess intelligence?
Do the learning goals include helping the students learn how to assess their own performance?
I have not thought about this before reading the Fink article. It is true that one learning goal is to learn how to self-assess your own performance. Still, where d you start; Is the simple question : ‘what do you think about your annotated bibliography?’ sufficient? ‘could you have done better?’. What are criteria and standards, maybe rubrics, that can guide one’s self-assessment giving the self-assessment this dimension of the other, the third position, the meta-position that looks at one’s performance from a more neutral perspective.
3. Learning Goals and Teaching/Learning Activities Do the learning activities effectively support all your learning goals?
Yes, I think so. They support the learning goals. However, the question is if the learning activities match with all the students learning style. If a visual learner has to read an article on how search engines work, the learning goal might not be effectively supported.
Are there extraneous activities that do not serve any major learning goal?
For our freshman experience, the first year student’s seminar, we go for a class diner and or do go with the professors on visits in Paris (i.e. Les Halles, Le Louvre). The learning goals with regard to research is then a bit neglected as it is more about the history, the content and not about the primary sources. The goal of the freshman diner is to get to know each other and to break the formal character of education. It should break the ice between the ‘sage on the stage’ and the students. Students should see their professors more as a person and professor should get a better understanding of the students. In a way, the diner can provide something very crucial to the class room: to be more engaged and to see the class room discussion as something important for the group; and being part of the group. A very civic notation, I would say, and finally a very important goal for society (‘you get the democracy that you deserve’).
4. Teaching/Learning Activities and Feedback & Assessment How well does the feedback loop work to prepare students for understanding the criteria and standards that will be used to assess their performance?
It does not work at the moment. For instance, we regularly conduct information literacy pre- and post-assessments (questionnaire with 10 closed questions) and we do not give feedback to students about their results. All other forms of assessments are punctual and the feedback is done is an unstructured way without linking them to their net assignment or task. The criteria and standards are poorly stated, in my opinion.
How well do the practice learning activities and the associated feedback opportunities prepare students for the eventual assessment activities?
I think that they prepare them well in the sense that the learning activities are ‘learning by doing’. Students are the one’s who do the work in the class room. They sit in the instructor chair (+ big instructor screen) to show the other students how to navigate the OPAC, where to find databases on the library webpage. It is one student who uses the white board to write down important facts for class mates. If then, they do not research as far as I wish them to do, it might be sometimes that the research assignment is not that demanding or the student believes that he or she has found already the best resources (even though there are still tons of others).