Assessing Collaborative Efforts
Module 3 assignment July 13, 2011
In looking at the many types of learning environments, including face to face and distant learning, the majority of assessment and evaluation should be completed by the instructor. Guidelines are beneficial for both the student and instructor. These guidelines are made clear through the use of a syllabus and rubrics. Rubrics are an effective tool and give accurate assessment (Palloff & Praff, 2005). Rubrics provide an outline of what is expected, give students expectations and allow them to self evaluate their work (Palloff & Praff, 2005). I find a rubric very helpful and use it as a check off when self evaluating my work. Although the majority of the assessment process comes from the instructor, a student is continuously evaluating their own work. Also, students benefit greatly by having a peer review their work. George Siemens, (Laureate Education, 2008) includes peer assessment in his assessment model for the collaborative learning environment. I personally prefer implementing peer review rather than peer evaluation. I find it very difficult to evaluate my peers. This is especially difficult when the work is unclear and difficult for most of the class. As a classroom teacher, I thoroughly enjoy using peer review. I see students growing in their academic skills, learning the material, increasing expression skills and social skills. Students provide valuable feedback for one another during review sessions. However, I look at peer evaluation as something totally different. I feel the instructor is in the best position to evaluate student’s work for a grade.
Online communities and learning environments have common goals and work together in reaching these goals. This is basically how the majority of corporate life works. I do have to recognize that some students really work better alone. I find this to be the case in any type of learning environment. Some people just function better when working alone. We are all unique and different. As a classroom teacher, if a student asks to work alone on a project, I usually allow this. Instructors in a face to face classroom setting have an advantage in that they know the personalities of their students and are able to answer immediate questions and provide feedback right away.
Online communities have to be assessed individually and as a group. Instructors have to consider factors such as students completing post on time, discussions and responses to classmates. They must investigate if an individual student was not able to complete an assignment due to a classmate’s late response or lack of input. This is why communication is so important not just between students, but between students and instructors. Students in online classes need to have a sense of trust and open communication with their instructors. Curt Walden (Walden 2010) post in his blog that an assessment plan should take into consideration the individual differences in student’s abilities. He states that instructors have to guard against stonewalling (“I missed the bus” or “The dog ate my laptop”) tactics.
A learning community’s communication and sense of trust is very important to all members. Each member has to work toward their common goal. In any group whether it is face to face or online, different roles will be played out by members of the community. Lack of understanding assignments is sometimes the cause of a member’s inattentiveness. Members should inquire about this with the team member. If this is unsuccessful, the team should bring the difficulty to the attention of the instructor.
Palloff and Pratt (2005) explain how small groups are more effective. This is true in both face to face and online communities. Groups seem to work better when they are made up of less than five members. Larger learning communities tend to make some members distant and non contributors to the team.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2008). Assessment of Collaborative Learning [Video program]. Available from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5260640&Survey=1&47=7338982&ClientNodeID=984645&coursenav=1&bhcp=1
Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2005). Collaborating Online Learning Together in Community. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Walden, C. (2010). Collaborative Learning Assessment [Web Blog Post].