I’ve never thought so much about assessment methods and strategies until this module! It was validating to read through research that supports what I’ve been doing in the classroom as best practice. Now I wonder if I’ll be able to do the same thing online and as a training module as opposed to academic teaching.
Anyways, just wanted to share what I’ve been working on because I’m pretty excited about it. The assignment was to create an assessment activity that was well-aligned to the learning objectives. Enjoy!
This is a training module at an English language school. Due to COVID-19, all face to face classes have been moved to online classes and all instructors must take a mandatory training to transition to an online classroom. This module, named “How to Plan an Online Class” guides teachers on transitioning their current teaching methods to an online class. Face to face classes were 3 hours long but the online classes have 1.5 hours of face time with the teacher in addition to 30-45 minute pre and post tasks done before and after class. To qualify to teach online, teachers must be able to demonstrate their ability to plan an online class and navigate the online learning platform.
The 45 instructors come from a wide range of ages, computer literacy, teaching experience, and teaching styles.
- Teachers range in age from mid 20s to mid 60s. Generally, the younger teachers have less teaching experience compared to the older teachers.
- The younger teachers tend to be more computer literate than the older teachers. This is evidenced in their instruction techniques. Younger teachers tend to make use of technology and optimize their interactive white board use. Older teachers tend to use less technology, rely on hand outs, and only use the interactive white board as a regular white board.
- About 85% of the teachers have their own laptop, internet, microphone, and headphones and know how to use them. The remainder have acquired the tools but are not comfortable and haven’t been trained to use them for teaching.
- Some teachers have taught or tutored online but majority have not.
- Prior to this course, none of the teachers have used Microsoft Teams and this is the learning platform the language school has chosen to use.
The objective of this training module is to assess the instructors’ abilities to do the following:
- Develop a detailed online lesson plan for a 90-minute face time lesson. This includes the learning objective, timing, interactions, materials/tools, and anticipated problems and solutions.
- Assign relevant pre and post tasks that take 30-45 minutes each.
- Evaluate available tools for creating an online lesson and choose what is best suited to achieving learning outcomes.
Assessment Strategy (the instructions for the students)
After completing the online training module for “How to Plan an Online Class”, plan and create a 90-minute face time lesson plan with a 45-minute pre-task and a 45-minute post-task for your assigned class level. You can choose to use a PowerPoint or share your screen during a lesson. You may also, and are encouraged to, consider utilizing web resources and activities, depending on your comfort level and the desired learning outcomes.
Submit the lesson plan to the Director of Studies for review and feedback. Review and feedback will be given based on the checklist.
Checklist for Assessment
Use the following template for your lesson planning and be sure to fill in all areas.
Lesson Plan Template
To qualify for online teaching, your lesson plan must satisfy all requirements on the Assessment Checklist. You may submit multiple times if required.
This is a training module for instructors who wish to teach online. It’s a combination of formal and informal assessment. It’s formal in that teachers must meet expectations as set out by the company. It’s informal in that teachers can submit their lesson plan, as many times as required, for the purpose of feedback and improving. This aspect is key as the teachers have differing comfort levels and computer literacy but everyone has the desire to continue teaching. This assessment strategy provides support and time for teachers that lack computer literacy and may need more guidance and support while allowing those that are computer literate to complete their assessment quickly and move on to teaching. This assessment strategy also follows a coaching model allowing for continuous mentoring and feedback from the Director of Studies.
I believe that a detailed lesson plan is a good assessment tool as it assesses their ability to plan an online lesson and that is the objective of the training module. It allows them to combine all the knowledge they learned throughout the module and produce something cohesive. By producing a lesson plan, it’s authentic because it reflects the work instructors must do on a weekly basis. Holder (2012) also states that authentic assessment will help improve retention and problem-solving skills. Improving retention is important because online teaching is new and unfamiliar territory.
This assessment also meets most of the criteria that Huba and Freed (1999) set out as characteristics of exemplar assessments. This assessment is:
- Authentic as described in the above paragraph.
- Challenging because it stimulates the instructors to apply their new training into developing an online lesson.
- Coherent as it guides the instructors to achieve the goal of being able to competently teach online.
- Engaging because amidst COVID-19, all teachers are motivated to keep their jobs and continue teaching and this is how they can achieve that goal.
- Responsive as the assessment includes a checklist as a feedback mechanism.
- Valid as it provides useful information to help instructors meet the intended learning outcome of being able to plan an online lesson.
I chose a checklist as I’m looking for a minimum competency level and this is simpler than a rubric with only 2 levels. The checklist functions like a rubric in that it communicates criteria and expected outcomes. The choice of “not yet” is in attempt to create and encourage a growth mindset, as mentioned by Carol Dweck in her Stanford Alumni (2014) talk. There is also a comment section for the Director of Studies to give more personalized feedback if necessary.
As stated by Sewell, Frith, and Colvin (2010), a rubric communicates the expectations and the checklist communicates to the teachers what constitutes meeting expectations. For the Director of Studies that will review the lesson plans, providing a checklist ensures fair and timely feedback. The checklist also allows for peer review if teachers desire further feedback. The Berkley Center for Teaching and Learning (n.d.) further explains that a checklist ensures consistency and allows for the identification of strengths and weaknesses with the goal to improve.
Berkeley Center For Teaching & learning. (n.d.). Rubrics. Retrieved from Berkeley Center for Teaching * Learning: https://teaching.berkeley.edu/resources/assessment-and-evaluation/design-assessment/rubrics
Holder, L. (2012, November 11). How To Design Assessments That Promote The Learning Process. Retrieved from eLearning Industry: https://elearningindustry.com/design-assessments-promote-learning-process
Huba, M. E., & Freed, J. E. (1999). Learner-centered assessment on college campuses: Shifting the focus from teaching to learning. Needham Heights: MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Sewell, J. P., Frith, K. H., & Colvin, M. M. (2010). Online Assessment Strategies: A Primer. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 6(1), 297-305.
Stanford Alumni. (2014, October 9). Developing a Growth Mindset with Carol Dweck [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=hiiEeMN7vbQ&feature=emb_title