Hi y'all! Long time no chat! This semester has possibly been the weirdest I have experienced for more reasons than one, and it’s not even over yet! Obviously, the coronavirus pandemic is one of them, but to give more context, let’s rewind a bit, shall we?
In my Cognitive Psychology course, the “big” project is writing a research proposal. I was told at the beginning of this semester that this assignment had never been previously assigned, which surprised me. As an undergraduate psychology student, I wrote these quite frequently for my upper level electives. Nonetheless, I decided to go where no person has gone before at WPU.
Last year I heard about Loom for the first time when I attended ACT. I gave a brief description of the program in a previous post. Essentially, Loom is a program accompanied by an online platform that instructors can use to create videos. Videos are recorded either using the browser plugin or desktop app and are stored and shared using the online platform.
Keeping on top of your busy schedule can be stressful at times! This blog has definitely touched on this topic before. Our tech guru, Jenel, has discussed strategies and tools she uses to keep organized and maximize her productivity. Her posts can be found here, here, and here, and they are definitely worth the read!
This semester, I’ve put the task upon myself to give my students a variety of ways that they are engaging with course material and subsequently being assessed. This means I’ve create a lot of new projects. The easiest way to convey what you want the students to do for these assignments is to give them a detailed description but also a rubric. A rubric is a “document that articulates the expectations for an assignment by listing the criteria or what counts, and describing levels of quality from excellent to poor” (Reddy & Andrade, 2010, p. 435). Most folks (myself included) probably already knew that.
Like many General Psychology courses, I have a research participation requirement. Along with this, I also have to provide an alternative assignment as research participation is voluntary. In the past when I’ve taught General Psychology, I had students write article summaries as the alternative assignment, but this isn’t the most exciting assignment for the student or the instructor. (Grading these is less than thrilling.) One of my fellow faculty members, Dr. Kayce Meginnis-Payne felt the same way. At our first faculty meeting this year, she brought up the subject and wanted to come up with a different approach to the typical alternative assignment. She proposed that we give students opportunities to get involved with the department outside than research.
This is the first year where I’ve had free reign over my courses. I can make my own syllabi and do whatever I want with my classes. (Yay to being a new faculty member!) As I sat down to prepare my syllabi, I was given some advice from my department chair; she told me that our students typically aren’t great test takers. Okay, no problem. This got me thinking about other ways that students can engage with the material.