Week Nine: Rossen and Ko

I enjoyed the readings for this week, although as I started making notes I realized I was going on and on and on…so I’ve peared down my response to address just three of the many interesting items they talked about in Chapter 7.

Ice breaking activities: I like using these the first week of class in my online class. So far I’ve had very positive experiences with simply asking students to tell the class a little bit about themselves both personally and academically. The majority of my students are military and I so I always assumed this particular ice breaker worked well among that group because it is a group that already has so much in common and are part of a larger community offline anyway, even if they do not know each other individually. For those not in the military they often feel slightly intimidated by the large majority of military students, but the majority is always very welcoming and there becomes an instant camaraderie among all students.

Group Activities: I have not yet tried these in an online environment and have thought about them because I use them so much in my face-to-face classes, but I was really unsure as to what those would look like online. I think Ko and Rossen brought up a great suggestion as well about students evaluating each other with strict criteria (179) to address the issue of some students not participating. I’m sure we have all experienced this inequality as students and seen it in our students when we assign groups. I like the suggestion from the authors because I wonder if it would make people more comfortable working within groups and getting over the anxiety of “doing more work” than their classmates.

Rubrics: Ko and Rossen ask whether we should really have a rubric for every assignment, but also make a strong case for doing so (or at least almost every assignment). I mentioned in an earlier week’s post that I’m a big fan of rubrics and I completely agree with the authors’ point that “clearly defining your grading criteria” is important not only in person, but also and especially online. I liked their point as well that “such criteria help reinforce the principle that online courses should be held to the same (or higher) standards of those on campus.” I couldn’t agree more because I have noticed in my courses two types of online students: those who are highly motivated and crave criteria and guidelines so they can excel, and those who are simply taking the course because they thought it would be easier than going to class on campus. I think a specific rubric works well for both sets of students. It supports the highly motivated students and makes them feel as though the instructor is just as excited to be there and is putting thought into the class, and for the students who may not realize how much work an online course is, it gives them a bit of a wake-up call that the course is serious and should not be considered “out of sight and out of mind.”


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa M. Lane
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 20:23:36

    About rubrics — there’s a difference between having them and making sure students look at them. I do a self-assessment where they have to use the rubric (a peer assessment would do the same thing) and many say it’s the first time they saw it, even though it’s right there are on Grading page! 🙂


    • ericaduran
      Nov 02, 2011 @ 22:18:31

      Really good point! I do make my students use the rubric when they peer edit and constantly refer back to it in my grading comments so that when they are seeing their grade they realize it came from somewhere other than my gut 🙂 Like you said though many students just don’t look at it even if it is right in front of them! But, we just develop these rubrics for our own enjoyment anyway, right? So, it’s okay 😉


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