6. Communicate high expectations


Setting High expectations for students lets them know that this important and interesting. Being clear about what you are asking them to do directs their actions. Students coming to higher education at a community college vary enormously in background, recent academic experience and motivation for learning the subject. Expectations can be presented and reinforced through evaluation, communication, and modeling.

Learning outcomes

  • review communication tools
  • understand grading options and displays
  • review tracking features
  • discuss student expectations and instructor’s role in setting course expectations
  • participate in communication activities – asynchronous and real-time
  • explore grading options and settings in own course
  • discuss evaluating student participation and performance


You have the power. Students are sophisticated consumers of tech-based presentation. If your course looks technically proficient and professional, then your students are more willing to accept your high expectations of them. … 6. Communicate high expectations


High but realistic expectations

Hold high but realistic expectations for your students.

Research has shown that a teacher’s expectations have a powerful effect on a student’s performance. If you act as though you expect your students to be motivated, hardworking, and interested in the course, they are more likely to be so.

Set realistic expectations for students when you make assignments, give presentations, conduct discussions, and grade examinations. “Realistic” in this context means that your standards are high enough to motivate students to do their best work but not so high that students will inevitably be frustrated in trying to meet those expectations. To develop the drive to achieve, students need to believe that achievement is possible -which means that you need to provide early opportunities for success.
–from Motivating Students

Students say…

  • I learned that online groups can actually work pretty well using discussion board. I think since you can see who’s participating on the discussion board, everyone feels the need to participate in some way.

Enhancing Instruction

There are a number of ways to communicate your expectations to students. Anything web-based will help. Students appreciate having online access to the course syllabus, assignment information, grading criteria. While they may not actually read the information, at least they have access to it if the need arises.

Grading Rubrics

Rubrics or explicit descriptions of grading criteria help students determine what is expected of them for a particular assignment, and can determine if they have adequately fulfilled the requirements. Rubrics take the guess work out of the assignment definition and grading process. Publishing the rubric along with the assignment helps set expectations.

Discussion Participation

Defining requirements for discussion participation is important.

  • counting posts – “I agree” doesn’t count
  • grading a few individual posts as mini essays
  • checking for critical thinking in reply to a prompt

Required Regular / Frequent Access to the Course

Asynchronous discussion is one of the important technology-supported learning activities. To be effective, students must participate regularly and often. Requiring frequent access is essential to keep discussions moving and to ensure that all student contribute.

There is a tendency for students to assume that “anytime, anywhere” assignments means the 20 minutes before the due time and date. Establishing guidelines for participation frequency is key to successful discussion.

Academic Integrity

I ask students to find sites that address academic integrity and discuss their findings. Here is an example.

http://www.lib.umich.edu/acadintegrity/students/index.htm This website gives a range of plagiarism by dividing the academic dishonesty into four categories of fraud, patchwriting, failure to cite, and failure to quote. These four actions fall under three branches of consciousness of plagiarizing, which include intentional, unintentional, and non-attribution. It can occur because of lack of understanding or inexperience with citations and sources. I think that academic integrity is an issue at any school, especially with up to date technology. I think that DeAnza’s distance learning and switching questions on different quizzes is the right step in preventing academic dishonesty.

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Bloom’s Taxonomy Blooms Digitally

In the sequence of Bloom’s categorization of high order thinking skills, creating is at the top. This is where technology provides some unique opportunities for students to use and demonstrate these skills.

Creating: designing, constructing, planning, producing, inventing, devising, making, programming, filming, animating, Blogging, Video blogging, mixing, remixing, wiki-ing, publishing, videocasting, podcasting, directing/producing, creating or building mash ups.

Bloom’s Taxonomy Blooms Digitally http://www.techlearning.com/story/showArticle.php?articleID=196605124

Academic Honesty

What about online quizzes and discussion activities? How do we know another student isn’t taking the quiz, or if students are collaborating on quizzes, etc.? Or do we just let go of that and are satisfied with the knowledge that, if we use quizzes as a learning activity, that’s the point?

So long as we make a reasonable effort to prevent abuse of the grading system, I think that is the extent of our responsibility.

One suggestions is to use lots of low-points assignments that don’t have a “right answer” and the submissions are “transparent” – visible to the whole class (like discussions). With Moodle, these are easy to set up, grade and track. It is unlikely that a student can have someone else do a lot of the work – there is just too much with not enough at stake to make this viable.

Occasionally, I do get some submissions that are significantly different from the student’s “usual” work and that has to be dealt with on a case by case basis.

Groups – MoodleDocs

The subject Groups came up in the TSL orientation. So here is more on the Moodle Groups function.

I thought there would plenty of good documentation about the Groups function available at moodle.org. I would just reference a couple of good sources and it would be covered, right? Well, there are resources, and you are welcome to poke around through them. However, they aren’t what I was hoping for – a nice summary of group use and an overview of selecting among the options provided.

Also: watch out for versions – the Moodle documents (docs.moodle.org) may contain references to as many as 3 separate versions of Moodle – pre-1.7, 1.9 and ?? on a single page. Check with the context-sensitive help provided with the installed version of Moodle to be sure.

Groups FAQ – MoodleDocs
— lots of questions and answers, some general overview, others more complex

Groups – MoodleDocs
The Groups feature allows a teacher to assign teachers and students to a group within a course. Participants in a course can belong to more than one group …
— instructions for setting up groups

Using Moodle: Groups
You may wish to browse and/or contribute to Moodle Docs Groups. Page: 1 2 3 4 (Next) …. Have you solutions to these drawbacks of moodle groups please? …
— discussion forum – enter as guest – whole discussion on groups with people asking and answering specific questions

Using Moodle: Thinking Through Groups
Here are some comments and observations about the “Groups” interface (where an instructor can put participants in distinct groups) and other group-related …
— discussion forum – just enter as a guest ok to see comments – more talking about the function than how students and instructors use it, but it might answer some of your questions

Do any of these give you a good general understanding of the Moodle Groups function? Do these answer your questions?

If you find other resources that are good ones, please pass them along.

Educational games

Educational games – Games as educational resources and learning activities? Have you discovered an educational game or article describing them? Do you use games in your instruction? Do you have links to good stories? Do you have good (and not-so-good) experiences including games?

Sherri wrote

I’ve used games in my live classes and have found that most students love them. I have a couple quizzes I can give in gaming format with students working in groups. All students participate and share their thoughts & answers with each other, often spurring great discussion and presenting different perpectives. Games are often seen as less intimidating too, especially when students can work in groups. I keep points but everyone in the class gets the same grade on the quiz, as I like to think they are ALL “winners” in the larger scheme of the discussion and rationale about the correct answers.

Sometimes students don’t “get” the game format, especially if I use an old TV game show as my format. This can lead to a lot of time prepping them to the format and the “rules” of the game. I’ve found it works best if I do not reference an old TV show and just put simple instructions up on the screen.

I’ve also allowed students to use gaming in group presentations if they choose. They’ve done some really creative work.

Who did this?

Question: Is it necessary for students to type their name on the on-line assignment that they submit, or is Moodle going to make it obvious whose work it is?

No and it depends. Moodle keeps track of EVERYTHING, so the identity of the student submitting an assignment is known. However, I usually expect students to include their name on formal assignments. They should always identify themselves on course work submissions, regardless of medium.

For discussions, I “sign” all my postings with just my initials – not really necessary, but I want students to realize it is me, the instructor, posting.

Moodle automatically displays the poster’s name and picture. I encourage students to provide a picture or an image for their profile which shows up in discussions and in lists of submitted work viewable by the instructor. Even if you don’t have a “face” to go with a posting or a quiz submission, you have a “visual” for the student.