October 4, 2012, 8:00 am
This semester, I’m in an enviable position. I get to take courses I’m really enjoying, simply because I want to learn what’s being taught in them. There’s no need for me to be overly concerned with grades. How well I do or don’t do has no direct bearing on my future. I’m not applying to a doctoral program. I’m not applying to medical school. There’s no one I need to impress with a “perfect” transcript.
That leaves me free to approach grades the way, ideally, I think they ought to be approached. I’m enrolled in particular courses because I want to learn particular things. To accomplish that, I need to attend class, do the work, and ask questions as appropriate—not because I’m looking to earn a particular grade, but because I want to learn. As the semester progresses, I’ll surely have a sense of how well things are going. What grades do is help me to see…
March 21, 2012, 3:00 pm
One of the core principles at ProfHacker is that experimentation is good. Trying new things, within reason, often leads to discoveries that we otherwise might not have made.
And if something doesn’t work, well, that’s a useful lesson, too.
Much of what we write about here involves teaching and learning with digital technologies of information and communication. But what is needed is a process–whether formal or informal–for assessing outcomes. Doing so is useful not only for your own purposes, but also for the purpose of explaining to others the advantages of using a particular digital tool or method.
So when it comes to teaching with technology, if you’re trying something new, how do you assess whether or not your experiment has been successful? Does your institution have some instrument or process by which such assessment takes place? Please share your experience in the…
March 10, 2011, 3:00 pm
Discussion of outcomes in higher education is often dominated either by performance-based funding measures modeled on the worst parts of the post-No Child Left Behind K-12 landscape, or by assessment measures that, when implemented without faculty consultation and buy-in, seem both merely bureaucratic makework and top-down exercises in authority. When that’s true, it can be hard to think seriously at all about outcomes–yet having a clear understanding of the desired end of all your work is crucial to actually making progress.
David Allen, the author of the popular productivity guide Getting Things Done (ProfHacker coverage: an introduction, contexts, mind-sweeps, and for students), recently posed a question on Twitter that struck me as a particularly helpful way of thinking about out…