6.1 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.

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

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.

5.3 tasks

Student Presentations

Using new skill or knowledge to create a product or deliverable is an important milestone in learning. Having students create presentations of their work reinforces their learning. Presentations can be PowerPoint slides, web pages, wiki entries – all can be shared with other class members who benefit from the work as well.

Open Source Content

Rather than having to create everything from scratch, consider adding pre-made materials to your course. Many creative and computer literate instructors have gone ahead and made their work available to any faculty or students who wish to make use of it. One such example of a library of college-level course materials is the Sofia project made available through Hewlett Foundation funded project at Foothill. Sofia initiative includes courses in language arts, art, geography, music and computer programming. http://sofia.fhda.edu/

Other sources of open source content are maintained by MIT, Harvard, Rice University, UC Berkeley and many others. All the materials are available under the Creative Commons licensing that permits any use of the material.

  • Rice University Connexions – view and share educational material made of small knowledge chunks called modules that can be organized as courses, books, reports, etc.

5.2 time management

Students need help in learning effective time management. Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective learning for students and effective teaching for faculty.
–Seven Principles – Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson

These tips are specifically directed to students, but we all can learn something new, too.

Web-based Research

There are lots of different web search activities. For the module on research and trusting sources, I ask students to find a wikipedia article of interest to them and look at the history and discussion as well as the text of the article. I have them report their findings in a discussion so everyone can see their selections and analysis. The results are wonderful. For the most part Wikipedia is a good resource, but it is clear to students after this assignment, that they really need to find other sources as well – which was the learning objective.

5.1 Emphasize time on task

5. Emphasize time on task

“Time plus energy equals learning. There is no substitute for time on task.” — Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson

Some assignments and course activities produce wonderful learning experiences for students. Some are viewed as drudge work and don’t produce the desired results. We think our subjects are important and interesting. Getting students to spend the time can be a challenge.

For promoting student Time on task there are a number of technology-facilitated learning activities. These include web-based research, collaboration and presentation.

Media in Course Work

Many students enjoy watching and listening to their learning. For many students, being able to rewind and review lectures is invaluable.

There are plenty of well-respected instructors who have recorded their lectures and make these available. Even if their views and content isn’t exactly in line with your course, these differences provide a wonderful opportunity for asking students to compare and contrast your course point of view or facts with those in the external content. Students spend time on task watching the video AND on the critical thinking assignments that you create to bring the students back into your focus.

Moodle – Grades

The two central ideas of grading in Moodle 1.9 are:

  1. Grades are scores attributed to participants in a Moodle course
  2. The gradebook is a repository of these grades: modules push their grades to it, but the gradebook doesn’t push anything back to the modules

4.3 evaluation

Most of the time we give feedback as part of an assessment or evaluation of students’ work. It is a great pleasure to provide feedback as a “guide on the side” as is encourage in discovery-learning or studio-style learning experiences.

from Purdue’s Discovery Learning Center – What is assessment?

  • How can I be certain my program is effectively meeting its objectives?
  • How can I determine if real learning is taking place?
  • How can assessment help me improve my program?
  • What are the tools I need to measure the outcomes of educational programs?

Moodle – Uploading files with feedback

Can I upload files with feedback for students on assignments?

Each of Moodle’s “Assignment” activities allow graders to give valuable feedback to submissions from students. The “Advanced uploading of files” activity stands out from the other assignments because it allows graders to upload a file in response to a student’s submitted file. This allows you to give much more in depth feedback and is especially useful when a grader has edited a student’s file and wants to upload the edited version for the student to review.


The Chat activity module allows participants to have a real-time synchronous discussion via the web. This is a useful way to get a different understanding of each other and the topic being discussed – the mode of using a chat room is quite different from the asynchronous forums. The Chat module contains a number of features for managing and reviewing chat discussions.

I very occasionally include a scheduled “Chat” session in my classes. I have even had guests come and “chat.” Chat is pretty low-tech. It just works. For the guest, I had students submit questions in advance so the guest could have pre-typed answers ready to go. I have been exceeding fortunate that the guest were also really fast typists, so there weren’t long delays in providing really rich responses to spontaneous questions and comments.

TSL – your feedback

We are at the half-way point in the online portion of the Technology
Supported Learning workshop.

Are you getting more or less daily emails with [DeAnza DLC TSL] in the
subject line?

Are these emails of interest to you? Do they relate to the Technology
Supported Learning workshop and the principles of Chickering and
Gamson that are used to structure the workshop?

Do you like this format for a workshop – in-person initial meeting,
online “course” in Catalyst /Moodle with activities, discussions,
opportunity to use the functions as a student, additional information
in WikiEducator linked from within the course, daily emails, resources
with descriptions and links, and the Technology Supported Learning
blog example in WordPress. Yes, I know that is a lot of technologies,
but I am also trying to introduce them in practice.

Have you learned anything that you can use in your teaching?

Have you learned anything from your students or other faculty that
would be helpful to the rest of us in the TSL workshop?

Your comments and suggestions are important. I really appreciate your feedback.

As always, if you have questions, please let me know.

4.2 feedback

Reminder: The best way to participate is in the discussion forums in the TSL workshop “course”

I have received a bout of great comments by email but everyone would enjoy these too. Please post your comments and questions in the forum discussions so everyone sees them. Then I will post my reply, and others will have a chance to comment too.

And now, back to our regular program…

Instructor comments

Students like to know why they got points, as well as how they missed them. Instructor notes along with the assignment grade are accommodated as part of the regular point-assignment grading mechanism.

There are a number of features within the assignment grading to streamline grading student work. Separate windows, automatically displaying the next student’s assignment, sorting submissions by time submitted, are just a few of the tools to assist instructors and reduce the time and key strokes required to manage student work.

Students are sent notification when instructor comments are added to the assignment. It looks like this.

07M_0202 -> Assignments -> Games in Education
Valerie Taylor has posted some feedback on your assignment submission for ‘Games in Education’
You can see it appended to your assignment submission:

Assignment markup

For some assignments, it may be appropriate to annotate directly on the student’s assignment submission. There is an option to permit this which must be enabled, if you wish to use the tool. Usually, the instructor can add notes as a separate item (much like posting in a discussion). Only the student and the instructor can view these. With the markup option enabled, the instructor can actually edit the student submission.