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.
As Brian mentioned earlier this week, grading is not always our favorite part of the job, but there are some things we can do to make our lives a little easier.
We previously discussed some grading tips and tricks in previous posts (find them here and here and in this guest post here) that could apply to writing assignments. Some of those include setting a time limit per assignment, grading by section (if you are grading a paper with multiple sections), and grading a small amount of papers at a time to break down the big task into smaller ones. Another strategy discussed in those earlier posts is creating and using quality rubrics.
Learning to write and how to do so effectively is an important part of a college education. Writing assignments can be easily incorporated into upper level classes, but sometimes it can be a challenge to integrate writing in lower level courses. When I had the opportunity to teach intro, I wanted to try to incorporate low-stakes writing assignments to get the students feet wet and also get an idea of what my student’s writing abilities are. I tried to do this in a couple different ways.