Quality Matters > Higher Education News > December 2021

Throughout the year, we — along with members of our amazing community — share resources to help all of us deliver on our online promise. Here are some of the most popular items from 2021 for you to use and share:

 

Writing Multiple Choice Questions For Higher Order Thinking — from theelearningcoach.com by Connie Malamed

Excerpt:

One of the biggest criticisms of multiple choice questions is that they only test factual knowledge. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can also use multiple choice questions to assess higher-order thinking.

Higher Order Thinking in a Nutshell
Higher order thinking goes beyond memorizing and recalling facts and data. It even goes beyond comprehension. Higher-order thinking refers to cognitive processes that involve analytical, critical and creative thinking. The concept is based on various learning taxonomies, such as application, analysis, evaluation, creation, problem-solving, connecting ideas and making decisions. Keep in mind that many of these cognitive tasks, including the recall of information, appear to occur simultaneously. See Alternatives to Bloom’s Taxonomy for criticisms of the hierarchical classifications.

Because test items must be aligned with performance objectives, you’ll need to include higher-order thinking skills from the start. And yes, these may be better measured through open ended questions, essays and discussions. But if you find yourself needing to use multiple choice tests, you can make the best of this situation with these three approaches.

 
 
 

A Crusade to End Grading in High Schools — from washingtonpost.com by Thomas Toch and Alina Tugend; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource
One educator is leading an effort to evaluate students differently. Can it catch on?

Excerpt:

He envisioned schools where students learned math, history and science not as isolated subjects in classroom-bound courses but while working together to address real-world issues like soil conservation, homelessness and illegal immigration. Such learning would make schooling more meaningful for students and thus more engaging, Looney believed. It would let students demonstrate more talents to colleges, holding out the prospect of a wider, more diverse range of students entering higher education’s top ranks.

The existing high school transcript, however, with its simple summary of courses and grades, wouldn’t do justice to the interdisciplinary, project-based learning he wanted. It wouldn’t capture students’ creativity, persistence and other qualities. Looney needed a radically different way to portray students’ high school experiences, one that replaced grades with a richer picture. But he didn’t know what it was.

Today, 275 private high schools and 125 public schools are part of the nonprofit Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC). They are in various stages of designing and launching the transcript — and working to make Looney’s radical vision a reality. Started in 2017, the organization is expanding rapidly.

 

AI+ alumni + real-world practitioners + accreditation agencies = outcomes for next year -- by Daniel S. Christian

 

AI+ alumni + real-world practitioners + accreditation agencies = outcomes for next year -- by Daniel S. Christian

 

Learning from the living class room

 
 

Lights, Camera, Action! 5 Ideas for Student-Created Video Assignments — from barbihoneycutt.com by Barbi Honeycutt, Ph.D.

Excerpt:

Here are 5 ideas for student-created videos. I hope these ideas inspire you to mix up your assignments and assessments to increase student engagement and improve learning.

Judith [Dutill] mentioned that students’ knowledge of and comfort with communicating by video is a 21st century skill that we need to prepare them for.

 

From DSC:
You might be interested in reviewing one or more of the items out at Faculty Focus Live Podcasts.

Some example podcasts:

  • Episode 11: Assessing Online Student Learning: How You Can Gauge Activities and Writing Through Online Assessment
  • Episode 9: Live with Wendy Trevor: Overcoming Student Distaste for Collaborative Group Work Online
  • Episode 8: Establishing and Revisiting Our Teaching Philosophies and Teaching Personas
  • Episode 7: Finding the Missing Piece: How to Help Your Students Who Are Struggling with Online Learning

 

 

 

Caring for Students Playbook: Six Recommendations — from by Every Learner Everywhere in partnership with Online Learning Consortium (OLC) & Achieving the Dream

Table of C0ntents:

Caring for students playbook: six recommendations

 

Also see:

Online Learning -- OLJ -- The official journal of the Online Learning Consortium

 

3 Education Trends to Watch for the Upcoming School Year — from techlearning.com by Dr. Kecia Ray
Education trends in the year ahead include micro lessons, integrated whole classrooms, and reconsidering assessments

Excerpts:

The study was conducted at the university level but can apply to all levels K-20. Polling, response apps, small group instruction, collaborative activities, and peer instruction are some of the effective strategies identified in active learning.

Thinking about classroom design as having all the necessary technologies — interactive panels, individual devices for students and teachers, integrated software, integrated hardware solutions, accessible high quality digital content, interactive applications — along with a teacher who is well equipped to design classes that incorporate effective instructional strategies will yield high performing students, no matter who you are teaching!

 

From DSC:
I read an interesting article out at Inside Higher Ed from the other day:

Rejecting Remote Proctoring — from insidehighered.com by Elizabeth Redden
University of Michigan Dearborn made a universitywide decision to reject remote proctoring and invest in faculty development instead.

At the same time many other colleges were considering whether to employ the technologies, UM Dearborn’s leadership made the choice that eproctoring was unacceptably invasive, at least when it comes to students who hadn’t signed up for that kind of surveillance.

From DSC:
Lower stakes assessments offered with a greater variety of ways to check for mastery. That fits in with what I’m reading about re: the topic of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which offers:

  • Multiple methods of engagement
  • Multiple methods of representation
  • Multiple methods of action & expression <– to demonstrate what they are learning

It also reduces anxiety — something that’s needed in this period of time.

 

Rebooting the final exam — from roberttalbert.medium.com by Robert Talbert

Excerpts: 

It’s probably better not to give final exams at all, but if you must, then here are some alternative approaches that do more to help students.

Here are some ideas for what your students might do on a final exam like this.

  • Create a mind map of the course or a portion of it.  
  • Write a new catalog description for the course.  
  • Write a letter to an incoming high school student who will be taking the course next semester.  
  • Write a short essay about: What are the main ideas of this subject, and how do they all connect together?  
  • Write about their metacognition.  
  • Leave one piece of advice to the next round of students taking this course. 
 

NJ High School Adds New Recording Studio to Learning Spaces — from spaces4learning.com by Matt Jones

Excerpt:

A career and technical high school in New Jersey has added new professional recording gear to one of its teaching spaces. County Prep High School, part of Hudson County Schools of Technology, added hardware from Solid State Logic (SSL), a UK-based company that manufactures analog and digital audio consoles for music and audio production. Students in the music and audio technology program learn how to write their own songs and produce their own music. The senior project involves putting a label together and releasing songs.

 

The Studio at County Prep High School in New Jersey installed at the front of a teaching space with seating for about 16 students -- it overlooks a tracking room with a piano and two soundproof booths.

The new studio at County Prep High School features professional equipment from Solid State Logic.
Source: Solid State Logic

Also see:

A different view on the console at this New Jersey High School

Addendum on 4/1/21:

  • Control Room 42 ushers in the future of broadcasting — from derivative.ca
    Excerpt:
    Control Room 42 (CR42) a project from RTBF, public broadcaster for the French speaking part of Belgium, gives broadcasting’s traditionally hardware-based control room a radical makeover enabled by TouchDesigner in ways its designer Hugo Ortiz thought impossible a few years ago. Recipient of The European Broadcasting Union’s Technology and Innovation Award 2020, this new software-based control room prototype that also integrates Artisto for audio and Smode for real-time graphics brings game-changing innovation to the broadcasting industry.
 

Self-Assessment (emphasis DSC)

Turn each of your learning outcomes or objectives into a question. Then, ask each student to self-score how confident they feel about being able to demonstrate that outcome or task.

Example:
Learning outcome: Students will be able to compare bacteria vs. viruses.

Change it to a question:  How confident are you in comparing bacteria vs. viruses based on today’s lesson?

Now ask students to score their confidence or ability to do this outcome using a simple scale such as:  “1 = I’m not confident that I can do it” to “5 = I am very confident that I can do it.”

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian