How should participation in a collaborative learning community be assessed?
There should be a variety of assessments in the online learning community. Palloff & Pratt (2005) feel, evaluation of students in an online course can be challenging. Since you are not in a traditional setting your evaluation needs to assess what learning has been achieved. Eventhough learning is being done in the online classroom the assessments can still be the same. Paloff & Pratt (2005) provide several factors for online assessments.
- Design learner-centered assessments that include self-reflection
- Design and include grading rubrics to assess contribution to the discussion as for assignmnets, projects, and the collaboration itself
- Include collaborative assessments through publicly posting papers along with comments from student to student
- Encourage students to develop skills in providing feedback by providng guidelines to good feedback and by modeling what is expected
- Use assessment techniques that fit the context and align with learning objectives
- Design assessments that are clear, easy to understand, and likely to work in the onine environment
- Ask for and incorporate student input into how assessment should be conducted
These guidelines set a standard on how grading will be done within the course. Having a variety of assessments gives the student that doesn't work well in groups a opportunity to shine on their individual assignments. This levels the playing field because people are different.How do the varying levels of skill and knowledge students bring to a course affect the instructor's "fair and equitable assessment" of learning?
There are several examples that come to mind. For instance, student A responses and turns in assignments first, but the contribution as for as responses to classmates and blog posts are minimal. On the other hand, student B turns assignments in late, but gives thoughtful feedback to others. The blog posts are detailed and provide useful information to all that read. The instructor should grade the individual on the contribution to the course and how well the assignments where done.
Communication is the key in making this work. If the student doesn't want to participate this needs to be discussed amongst the team. The team should reach out to the person and find out what is wrong and how they can assist. Once the students have reached out to the member and there is no cooperation. The instructor should be informed of the students lack of interaction with the group. Also, overall reminders to participate in the course should be given by the instructor. Palloff & Pratt (2005) state, the instructor can ease the degree of resistance in the group by simply explaining why the activity is occurring and how it contributes to learnin objectives for the course. Ultimately, it is up to the instructor on how they will assess that individual student.
What role should the instructor play?
The instructors role in this is the facilatator. The instructor gives the assignments and provides the assessments. He/She will leave comments within the course shell providing scholarly dialict amongst the students. The instructor should provide information to the class that will introduce students to new information and or technology. Overall, the instructor should be the backbone of the course.
What impact would this have on his or her assessment plan?
As I stated, the instructors role is to provide information, feedback, and introduce the students to new technologies. The instructor should assess the individual on what they provide to the course. People are individual and what one is good in another my be slacking. The assessment should be done on the quality of the work, how they interact with others, and if they do the work at all. The instructor knows when the student logs on and how long they stay within that shell.
Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2005). Collaborating online: Learning together in community. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.