Tag Archives: Standards based grading

January 2, 2012, 8:00 am

What I learned in 2011: Learning objectives matter

Happy New Year, and greetings from Boston, where I’m attending the AMS/MAA Joint Meetings. This week’s blog posts will be a mix of reports from the meetings and thoughts I’ve been letting incubate over the holiday break.

One of the biggest things I learned this semester is: Everything in a class should revolve around learning objectives.

When I was preparing my transition-to-proof course (MTH 210, titled Communicating in Mathematics), I was struck by something my colleagues were doing. On assessments, preceding each problem there was a little blurb that said what learning objective the item was addressing. For example, an item on proof by contradiction might be preceded by the statement, “The purpose of this item is to assess your skill at proving conditional statements by contradiction”. So simple — and very helpful for both instructor and student.

I started doing this myself…

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October 14, 2011, 7:30 am

The pedagogy of phlebotomy

When we moved to Michigan from Indiana over the summer, my wife moved to a sort of “standby” status with her employer, a conglomerate of medical labs based in South Bend. They are considering opening up a new lab nearby, and if they do, my wife would not only work in the area in which she was trained — cytotechnology — but she would also be the general do-it-all lab worker for clients. To prepare my wife for her possible new duties, her employer is paying for her to take a class in phlebotomy this semester at a local college. That means she’s learning how to draw blood.

I joke with my students that if they think Calculus 2 is bad, then they should try taking a class that consists of sticking each other (and being stuck) with needles — literally, bloodletting — for 4 hours every week. But all jokes aside, there happens to be some pretty interesting pedagogy that takes place in my…

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