5: ASSESSMENT OF THE LEARNING DESIGN

Based on a review of literature and tests completed by generous collaborators, it appears that this learning design is sound. There were a few points raised that need to be assessed in detail.

How to mitigate issues raised by the two assessors:

Points 1 & 2:  While it is possible that I could ensure students interact online (and do not free-load) by making involvement a requirement (i.e. ParticipationRubric) or assessing this item I believe this would move the focus towards a staff (rather than student)-driven forum. This I do not want to do as I believe it would remove active/ problem-based learning elements inherent in design.

I believe it is possible to adopt the “conceptual approach”, setting conditions which make it easier to complete the course (including assessments) through collaborative use of CSCL. Following Kreijns et al. (2003: 339) This will involve “positive interdependence”. In this case, research and PPT design in preparation for the 1st assignment (a group presentation during tutorials) can be evaluated based on a review of Wiki activities. It will be made clear that wikis provide a way of examining “individual accountability”. This can be gauged by student collaborators and not just the lecturer. It will further be stressed that by helping out other students (providing information/ comments), this will assist completion of the final assessment: an essay on the role of key figures in the development of archaeological thought. This aligns with key course outcomes (as covered in a previous post).

Point 3: I agree with reviewers that the function and reason behind wikis must be made very clear. It is necessary to remove social (psychological) barriers connected with the use of blended learning. According to Kreijns et al. (2003: 343)  “Social relationships, group cohesion, and trust define the affective structure in the social space
that in turn reinforces social interaction”. To develop this within an online context is problematic, however, with face-to-face tutorials occurring throughout the course it is anticipated that this will not be a problem. To make sure the use of wikis is clear, the 1st tute (wiki) has been modified as a “community building” exercise whereby a combination of group discussion and wiki use (including social, “off-task communication” will be covered (Kreijns et al. 2003: 343) .

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