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Organizing open-ended assessment at scale for enhanced online learning

Ananda Verheijen
February 6, 2020

Description of activity

  • This learning activity is designed to organise open-ended assessment at scale.
    The goal of the activity is to enhance learning through both the forming of knowledge and the assessing of student’s understanding.
  • This goal is achieved by leveraging classroom interactions. In a physical classroom, there is often more ‘robust’ interaction compared to an online learning environment. Moreover, in physical classrooms students would often sharpen their argumentation (peer pressure) to not waste time and at the same time they would receive guidance from an instructor.
  • In order to facilitate a step by step meaningful dialogue at scale, students will first peer-review, then engage in a more open discussion in which everybody can see all submissions & reviews, and finally teachers shall intervene by pointing out relevant comments to students (guidance).

Didactic value

  • Enhance learning through both the forming of knowledge and the assessing of student’s understanding at scale.
  • Effectively cultivate communication and analysis skills of students.
  • Teachers that intervene, allow students to see how teachers would have reviewed the submissions.
    Hereby triggering deeper thinking and metacognitive skills.

Activity outline

  • Students read instructions on how to write a two pager critique and will submit their work.
  • Students read and interpret the teacher rubric and use it to evaluate multiple peer submissions (mandatory part).
  • Then the open assessment part starts in which all submissions are open to view and review.
  • Students can subsequently read or place additional comments and upvotes to reviews
    (Note: up until this point only students have interpreted the rubric).
  • Faculty intervene by guiding students to the best discussions and point our interesting comments.
    The teacher hereby also allows students to see how he or she would have reviewed submissions.
  • Students reflect on their learning experience.

Tips and variations

  • Provide enough time for students to write a good quality critique.
  • Include deadlines to make sure students know what is expected from then when.
  • Create a safe and open online community of learners. Guidelines of online communication, such as netiquette can help establish a safe online environment free of personal attack but abundant in meaningful discussions.
  • Grading could potentially be based on a ratio formula: ‘received upvotes/provided comments’.
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