We Could Be Doing Something "Immoral"
|Above copied from TES|
Learning always requires feedback. And teaching requires a metric that is not based on the fastest learners. Otherwise, it is not just "immoral" but also destined for failure. Learning is a two-way process, bringing the need for us, teachers, to see where students are. Teaching inside a classroom is already challenging. Doing this through distance learning is much more difficult.
I have the luxury of having students who can still give the time and energy to what I am teaching. I can say this because even in distance learning, I have avenues of seeing where my students are. In every week, I do take a one-way approach of simply giving lectures via Zoom. These are three one-hour lectures every week, no different from what we had before the school closure. In addition, there are three office hours every week during which a student can join me in Zoom. These six hours, however, do not give a view of where my students are. So we have formative assessments, or what K-12 schools call "homework" or "classwork". Below are the averages for my students in these assessments that come with my online lectures:
There are 95 students in my class and the above are the average scores. We have had one summative assessment (an hour exam) and the average was 91 percent. With an online platform, it is even possible to keep track on much time students are spending on the material. Learning platforms often have analytics built in. The following is how much my course materials page are being accessed:
Since we closed schools in mid-March, my page has been accessed thousands of times each week. This data is available not just in aggregate form, but also for each student. We need this type of data to see if our students are keeping pace or being left behind. We need to see what is happening. But we can also plan ahead.
My class is scheduled to take the final exam this weekend. I just took the exam myself awhile ago and it took me 17 minutes. The class will have 170 minutes to do the exam. A curriculum must be designed with success in mind.