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OMG Coursera quiz is fun!

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    What is your own experience of feedback (either as a tutor or as a student) in technology enhanced or online programmes?
    This week I started a Coursera  MOOC to find out what they were like. It consists of a series of “lectures”, which are short videos alongside a kind of Powerpoint (sounds really boring but actually it is fine and the whole of the course is really clear and aesthetically well presented). Each video lecture is stopped halfway through and you get asked an on-screen question with (so far) multiple choice answers.

    If I’d just been told about this I’d be outraged at the boring, meaninglessness of it….but I was really surprised how much I enjoyed answering the questions and what a rush it is when you’re told by a green tab that you are “correct”….well, I haven’t got one wrong yet so that might be horrible!!!! Wonder if you get another attempt then?

    But the questions occur just when your attention is beginning to drift, so it seems like a really good way of drawing you back in. and I did feel “positive pressure” to get it right.

    At the end of the week’s lectures there is a bigger (16 question) quiz as an assignment that is graded. You get three attempts at it. This is a mixture of multiple choice, true or false and fill in the answer with a small paragraph. Again, it’s a topic I’ve never done before so I was really keen to know if I’d done well and I was content to settle with my not-perfect-but-quite-acceptable score. What I’m not clear about and may or may not find out next week is, do I get told which question(s) I got wrong. If not that doesn’t seem to help learning very well.

    I would never in a million years set this kind of feedback. But I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would. Wonder if the novelty will wear off. I think there are other forms of assessment later in the course too. It seems very simple unlike the seeminlgy more complex forms of assessment and feedback I do with my learners. I tend to assess much larger proportions fo work, with simply verbal tutorial formative feedback (sometimes more formal interim crits). Perhaps introducing some really simple “quick hit” feedback would be a good idea…

    Just a thought – is it ok to present and feedback in a MOOC like this? Is there something about motivation or already-present knowledge? If I had delivered my graphics course in this way to my f2f first years I think they would have left the building….

    How can we ensure that students engage with, and act on, in a timely manner the feedback provided?
    I believe that you have to build into the programmes the reflection and target-setting parts, as well as the feedback itself. As I’ve said before I think things that you set up at the start, as part of expectations, will take. So it’s important to allow your learners to understand that a kind of professional private de-brief is essential not only to their coursework but to them as a person entering a community of practice. How else will they develop in their professional lives?

    I do set targets with my learners (f2f and online) but it seems a bit clunky. It’s OK to start off with them, but I do tend to move slowly away from targets and go more for reflection, by which time the learner will be aware of how to action reflective evaluations.

    I’ve also said elsewhere that I think blogs, or indeed journals, are good for this reflection. But a discussion might do just as well. There are lots of good videos about reflective practice, which not many straight-from-school learners know about, so it’s a skill that needs to be learnt and rehearsed. I don’t think many people are expecting to discuss their feelings about the way they work as well as the work itself. And anyway, the reflection then goes into the melting pot for more assessment and feedback making it a very organic process suitable to take privately out into the professional world of CPD.

    Design learners are problem-solvers by discipline so solving the problem of development and indeed improvement can easily be streamlined into what they do. So for other disciplines I wonder if you can also take this professional problem-solving approach??

    Sancha (@GraphDesProjec)

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