Planning your teaching and learning
Whilst designing a new teaching and learning approach, or updating an existing approach, you may want to consider a Theory of Change which will help link assumptions and reasoning to a predicted SMART outcome. You may also want to do this during course enhancement cycles. Some of the resources on this blog can support you:
Evaluating your teaching and student learning is an important part of being a lecturer as it allows you to understand how to adapt and improve your practice. Below are some key methods that can be done before, during and after a teaching activity or series of activities to evaluate student engagement, student learning and your teaching.
Before, during and immediately after the teaching activity/series of activities (formative evaluation)
Before the activity/series of activities:
- Ask students to send through questions or share ideas about any flipped content in advance. This allows for co-designed discussions; you can also check whether any students are having problems accessing the content.
- Establish a discussion forum/social media chat to create parallel discussion of the pre-session learning materials e.g. announcement to say the pre-session learning is live; encourage social consumption with the group (e.g. ‘You Tube premieres); encourage use of ’likes’ or constructive critique.
- Use the objectives set for the session/s to guide this evaluation and reflection. Were the objectives for the session/s met? Can you evidence this?
During the activity/series of activities:
- In blended sessions, encourage students from the in-room session to engage in discussion with remote students. Support students to act as facilitators in the break-out rooms.
- Embed regular checks to make sure both in-room and remote groups are both at the same stage. (Zoom has a slower/faster button, for example, for participants to feedback on the pace of a session).
- Make sure there is a live chat/Q&A function and that it is being monitored/responded to. Students can be appointed to help manage this and voice questions if the teacher/lab demonstrator is too busy running the activity.
- Make sure there is explicit discussion of resources provided on supporting group work and include problem resolution strategies and opportunities.
- Use polls in the session to check who has viewed the resource and to check understanding of key points
- In group work, include mechanisms for students to record all their diverse input. Encourage the use of a project tracker such as Trello or a collaborative editing tool such as GoogleDocs, so students can demonstrate their input easily. Work alongside students to review these records regularly to make sure everyone has an opportunity to contribute.
- Encourage students to adopt and use their own choice of project and group tools where appropriate. These can provide a valuable record for evaluation as well as being a learning activity in their own right.
At the end of an activity/series of activities:
- Encourage collective (staff and student) self-evaluation and reflection: “How do we think that went?” “What should we start doing?” “What should be stop doing” “What should we continue doing?” Don’t forget to record this feedback so it can be used to make changes and can be documented within quality enhancement processes. Close the loop and feedback to the students the changes that have been made.
- Have a strategy for following up on students who don’t seem to be engaging. Use positive questions such as: ‘is there anything preventing you from participating in these sessions?’, rather than ‘why weren’t you here?’
- Access Blackboard download statistics, EesySoft Course Reports in Blackboard, library resources download statistics. What do they tell you about student engagement? If you’re not sure, ask the students what they think the numbers mean.
- Check engagement with published recordings. Ask students to highlight the most useful sections (e.g. there was very useful section on key topic at 5 mins 30 secs). That will tell you a lot about what the students think they need to learn and what interests them.
- Use a range of evaluative data sources to reflect on the teaching, learning and student engagement for this module/course. These could include learning analytics, student satisfaction surveys, student evaluations of teaching, Student Rep feedback, peer review data and bespoke institutional research and evaluation projects. Make sure you let the students know what the data tells you, and check that it matches their understanding of the success of the sessions (or otherwise).
- Try not to compare/measure differences in any previous face to face delivery with any blended delivery after March 2020; there are possibly too many compounding variables to make this a worthwhile exercise.
- Use the quality enhancement processes to evidence actions and impact linked to SMART objective setting.
Published in wonkhe (14.7.20), here are 10 principles for designing and implementing an evaluation of blended teaching and learning at an institutional level. This would bring together evidence from the activity level outlined above.