Over the past two weeks we (our whole class) have been given an interesting assignment. We were to peer review two different course prototypes and give feedback to the authors of those prototypes. In return two others reviewed my course prototype and offered me a review and suggestions.
First of all, this process was difficult but in a really good way. I found it challenging to provide feedback that was both useful and encouraging. It is super easy to say that “everything looks great,” or “I love your activities, ” or “I really enjoy the way you have added videos.” What is not easy is giving feedback that is useful, and I hope that I was able to add at least some useful content to the reviews that I submitted. It is rare to have this opportunity in a professional role to give this type of feedback, and it really made me think about how I provide feedback to my students. It is one thing to read about feedback from sources like: Framing Online Discussions: Getting Quality Posts and Giving Effective Feedback by Marilea Bramer and Monica Janzen, but to actually put it into practice is a totally different beast. I am so grateful that Katia gave us prompts to work from, otherwise I think my feedback would have been terrible.
Feedback that I Received
I want to start by thanking Devon and Lindsay for their thorough feedback. I am pleased that you thought my module would be interesting for my students and that it is organized and well laid out. However, even more so I appreciated your feedback.
One piece of feedback that I received was that there was not a way for students to connect with me and with each other, and immediately I went on the defensive (in my head) because I have Discord set up for the class with text channels that include: general, teacher announcements, q-and-a, and resources. Having discord set up for the class allows them to chat and ask questions of each other, as well as ask me questions. However, once I thought about it, I realized that maybe it was not in a place that was highly visible to my reviewers, and thus would not be highly visible to my students. I have to find a better place in Google classroom to post it so students know how and where to sign up as I did not specifically mention it in the lesson or post it in Classwork/Material.
Another piece of feedback that I really appreciate is on my slide show titled “Famous or not?” My intention for this activity is for it to be done in person, however one of my reviewers pointed out that it would be a difficult lesson to figure out and do on your own if that particular class was missed. I have thought about it for quite awhile and I am thinking that one way to solve the problem would be to record myself giving the lesson as if it was going to be an asynchronous lesson. That way students who happen to miss the in person lesson would still benefit from doing the activity. For the final course shell I will add a recording of that lesson. If you want to take a look at my “Famous or Not” slide show I have set the restrictions so that anyone with a link can access and view the slide show.
Last but not least, I wasn’t clear that the ticket out the door/critical thinking assignment at the end of the lesson is in place to provide me feedback for how well the students understood the lesson, but that I would also be using it to follow up and provide group feedback to the students. The questions would be used as a formative assessment piece. It is my strong believe that students should almost never be given a summative assignment from an introductory class unless the work is something that they have been practicing for a long time. The three exit slip questions from my lesson are:
1. What makes a person famous?
2. Who decides who is famous?
3. How has your opinion changed from the beginning of class? If it hasn’t changed why?
As you can only imagine, it would be very difficult to answer these questions if you did not attend the lesson – thus the need to record myself teaching the lesson so any asynchronous attenders would be able to submit their answers.
This famous or not piece is a critical part of the lesson because this group of students will be choosing to read a biography on any number of different people that they may not have even heard of. I believe that it is important that my students maintain an open mind when they chose their biography, and that they choose a person that they have never heard of. I don’t think that I made that very clear in my outline, therefore will have to add this piece for clarity.
This course can be improved by making the lesson more accessible to students by providing an online lesson component so students who do access the course asynchronously are not left guessing what to do.
Students will have access to each other and me through Discord. I have set up channels that allow for chat in the following areas:
- general – In this section students will be able to chat with each other and stay in touch. They can use it for any form of interaction as long as they are following the rules set out in the classroom at the beginning of the year (this is not part of my course – it would have been pre-taught and in place).
- teacher announcements – A section for me to make announcements to the classroom such as reminders or questions that I have for students.
- q-and-a – A section for students to ask questions and to receive answers from their peers or myself.
- resources – In this section students will have the opportunity to add any online resources that they have found that they think will help out their classmates, or a place where I will add videos or websites that will help with a flipped classroom/blended learning model.
Overall, this has been a very helpful process and it is too bad that as teachers we don’t get many opportunities like this to have our lessons peer reviewed. It has helped me see my lesson through a different lens. Another big thank-you to Lindsay and Devon for such great feedback!