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The Benildean Instructor's Guide to Distance Learning

01. Overview

This guide is for Benildean instructors, especially for those who are new to or have minimal experience in online teaching and learning, to help them translate their courses effectively from face-to-face to full online mode. As such, many of the examples, tools, and use cases referenced herein can be found and applied in the context of BigSky Benilde, the College’s official learning management system.

The information in this guide is a result of the consolidation of online teaching and learning models, theories, research, as well as valuable learning experiences acquired through the implementation of different modes of online learning by the members of the EdTech and Instruction Offices of the Center for Instruction, Research, and Curriculum.

Our Commitment

The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde recognizes the value of full online learning in advancing its mission through high quality online education to diverse learners. The College is committed to provide a supportive learning community through various systems and processes to connect learners and teachers, learners and resources, learners and associates, and learners and with other learners.

Maslow’s Before Bloom’s

The College also values the importance of building trust in both traditional and full online learning settings. It is dedicated to arranging for an environment where stakeholders and associates shall feel safe, supported, and protected at all times. The College firmly believes that before learners are expected to acquire and demonstrate higher order thinking skills, they should be treated first and foremost as human beings with basic needs, interests, and motivation.

02. Introduction: Getting Started

Many of us have been forced to teach using some form of online technology more recently, but perhaps some experiences have led us to question or doubt the effectiveness of online learning. To set your mind at ease, here are our answers to some of the more frequently asked questions regarding online learning:

A. Understanding Full Online Learning

An online class has been defined by the College as “a class that is fully conducted in an online environment, that is, BigSky Benilde, either in a synchronous or an asynchronous mode.” (Conduct of Online Makeup Class at DLS-CSB, 2019, p.3).

Yes, IF the right tools are used in tandem with the appropriate strategies. As the saying goes, it’s not the bow or arrow, it’s the archer. Hopefully, the rest of this guide can help you on your way to becoming a better “archer”.

Yes and No.

There are many variables at play for an online course to succeed. But theoretically, any course can be taught online. However, since our highest priority is maintaining the quality of learning, we will not recommend for a culinary lab class, for example, to be delivered in full distance – not because it cannot be done – but because these types of courses have set learning outcomes that can only be achieved through live, in-person skill and product demonstrations using specific equipment that students will most likely not have at their disposal.

We therefore leave it to subject matter experts to determine which modality is best or possible, given specific target outcomes.
The quickest way we differentiate in Benilde is by the amount of face-to-face contact you have with your students.

For example: Blended learning – 100% face-to-face + online supplements Hybrid learning – 50% face-to-face, 50% online Full Distance – 0% face-to-face, 100% online

In a blended learning course, all instruction occurs in a face-to-face learning environment. Technology is used to simply enhance the instruction, and regular face-to-face classes meet as scheduled.

In a hybrid learning course, face-to-face and online activities are designed to reinforce, complement, and elaborate on one another, instead of treating the online component as an add-on or a duplicate of what is taught in the classroom. A portion of the total contact hours of the course are delivered online in lieu of on-campus meetings. Most materials, course activities, assignments, and discussions should be available in an online environment.

A fully online course in which more than 93% of the required classroom minutes are delivered and conducted online using the official learning management system of the College (i.e., BigSky.) Courses under this instructional approach do not require the learner’s physical presence for classes, exams, and/or other purposes integral to course completion.

In effectively managing a virtual environment, we do recommend the use of artificial intelligence and automation tools to make life easier for you. But the virtual presence of a teacher becomes more necessary and potent in effect as the rate of face-to-face contact with learners is reduced. It is in our opinion, therefore, that robots will not and cannot replace your wisdom, your sense of humor, or your creativity – all of which are especially valuable in distance learning. You will, however, need to learn how to maximize the technology tools at your disposal to become effective online teachers.

Neither is better than the other, as both are useful and recommended, depending on the nature of the activity.

Asynchronous learning refers to self-paced learning at the time convenient for the learner. You, the instructor, do not have to be online all the time because you have uploaded learning materials and created activities that your students can consume and complete at their own pace within a given time frame. This mode is ideal for pushing content, drills, personal reflections, insights sharing, and for the completion of many other challenging or thought-provoking activities. A purely asynchronous course delivery could lead students to feel unguided and unmotivated.

Synchronous learning, on the other hand, refers to meeting online with your students at an agreed upon time and environment, either via chat, call, or video conferencing. This is ideal for consultations, quick discussions, clarifications, as well as for touching base with your students. Regular synchronous sessions are necessary to maintain deeper and more personal connections with your students. Although, when done too often, this can be quite stressful not only for yourself, but for your learners as well.

Aim to strike a good balance between the two in designing your course instruction.

B. Setting Your Expectations

Whether you’re a new or more experienced teacher, we’ve all been taught in the same way ever since we can remember: inside the classroom, breathing the same air as our teachers and classmates. So it can be difficult to imagine how our students are going to learn from us if we’re not there with them at the same time and place.

In the same way, we must remember that the great majority of our students have also been taught in this way since preschool, and a lot of them resist the idea of online learning because they also often associate learning with being in the classroom with their teacher being physically present.

Keep in mind that you and your students will go through a few adjustments in the process of transitioning to a fully virtual environment, so it’s best to start with having and setting the right expectations for yourself and your learners.

No. Learning is measured by the achievement of outcomes regardless of modality. Time, therefore, becomes immaterial IF the time spent online is not used to engage your students meaningfully. Try to find a good balance in scheduling synchronous and asynchronous activities throughout the run of your course.

That being said, expect that you will be spending more time online than you may have originally planned, especially towards the beginning when you’re still setting and adjusting your course content and activities. As your course runs more smoothly later on, you will notice how much of your time online will shift to providing timely and meaningful feedback to your students’ output.
Timeliness of communication and feedback matters greatly in keeping your students engaged. But you don’t have to compromise your personal time in the process. Establish a clear routine, set boundaries, and stick to it. If you decide that you only want to be reached via a certain platform like BigSky, then make sure that you are reliably available to them in that platform, and that you reply in a timely manner.

It also helps to make sure that you always provide complete information, clear and explicit instructions with plenty of examples, and easy-to-understand content materials to reduce the amount of questions they may ask.

Your students may be classified in some references as digital natives, but that does not mean that they are exempt from anxieties and doubts for online learning as well. If you’re adjusting, they are, too. And in many cases, it’s more difficult for them to adjust than for you because they have been conditioned to learn under close monitoring until now. They may also be less motivated than you are to quickly adjust to online learning. Some could feel like they learn better when in a group than alone. Some may also be struggling with things that we cannot observe. Whatever the case may be, we need to be sensitive to our learners’ needs, and adjust our methods of instruction – from the delivery of content and assessment, to our methods of engagement and feedback – to help our students learn better in a new environment.

03. Learner-Centeredness in
Online Teaching

Traditional education approaches learning from the teacher’s point of view: teachers decide what, when, and how things should be learned. The problem in doing this is that teachers fail to take into account what learning means for their students, and how to motivate them to want to learn. As educators, we need to understand our students’ realities, and find ways to support their learning needs and capabilities.

But how do you do all that in an online learning environment?

At this time where everything can be googled, we may be frustrated by this lack of control and feel that our students are cheating left and right. This is why simply transferring our traditional approaches to a virtual platform will not work. We have to think about how to design an environment where our learners can construct their own learning in a social context.

Think of your course, if you will, as a literal obstacle course. You need to design it in such a way that it is challenging, but that whoever goes through it - either alone or in groups along the way - will be able to finish it feeling safe and enriched by the entire experience.

So instead of telling them what is right or wrong, we work with our students as they discover how to sift through information, and we teach them how to separate the meaningful and useful from the garbage, then finally guide them to make use of this knowledge to make relevant and critical decisions of their own.

04. SELF-ASSESSMENT: Are You Ready to be an Online Teacher?

Teaching in an online environment can be considerably different in nature from teaching face-to-face. Adapted with full permission from the Pennsylvania State University, the competencies listed below are intended to provide you with a better understanding of the instructional requirements of online teaching.

Take some time to ruminate and see which competencies you already have, and which to improve on:

A. Technical Competencies:

“I can complete basic computer operations including creating and manipulating documents, managing files and folders, and working with multiple windows.”

“I can log into BigSky and access the class.”

“I can navigate the course space in BigSky to locate critical class elements such as the syllabus, lessons, gradebook, class list, and other features.”

“I can set up the class gradebook and manage student grades in BigSky, such as set grading weights, use points/percentages, and submit final grades.”

“I can use course communication systems in BigSky Benilde such as email, pager, chat, web conferencing, discussion forums, or news.”

 

 

“I can manage the course users in BigSky to set up and manage pair/group work areas to reflect their in dropbox, discussions, and grades.”

 

 

  •   Create and manage course files and modules

 

“I can create and manage course files and modules within BIgSky Benilde.”

 

“I can manage student submissions in BigSky using tools such as a dropbox and activity feed.”

 

“I can create and manage course files and modules within BIgSky Benilde.”

B. Pedagogical Competencies:

“I can attend to the unique challenges of distance learning where learners are separated by time and geographic proximity, and interactions are primarily asynchronous in nature.”syllabus and, throughout the course, demonstrate sensitivity to disabilities and diversities, including aspects of cultural, cognitive, emotional, and physical differences.”

 

“I am familiar with the unique learning needs and situations of both traditional age and adult learners, providing an educational experience that is appropriate for both.”

 

“I can provide a program-accepted statement of accessibility in the course

“I can achieve mastery of the teaching and learning environment by becoming familiar with all course materials, as well as the structure and organization of the course environment.”

“I can respond to student inquiries within 12-24 hours to guide students towards a positive learning outcome.”

“I can provide detailed feedback on assignments and exams through facilitation, guidance, directed learning, and progress assessment.”

“I can communicate as needed with students about course progress and changes via email, course announcements, etc.”

“I can promote and encourage a safe, inviting, and mutually respectful learning environment by communicating with students in a positive tone and by following and promoting Netiquette guidelines.”

“I can continuously monitor and manage student progress by using course statistics or reports to identify students who are not accessing course materials, participating in learning activities, etc., and reach out to encourage engagement.”

“I can communicate course goals and outcomes using the syllabus and course announcements at the beginning of the course.”

“I can establish my presence in the course on a regular basis via course announcements, assignments, emails, online office hours, and various other methods.”

“I can provide a program-accepted statement of accessibility in the course syllabus and, throughout the course, demonstrate sensitivity to disabilities and diversities, including aspects of cultural, cognitive, emotional, and physical differences.”

B. Administrative Competencies:

“I actively participate in the course through a variety of communication tools.”

“I communicate to students when assignments and exams will be graded and returned per assignment/quiz/exam.”

“I can provide a comprehensive syllabus that adheres to my institution’s policies. The syllabus includes a course examination policy, a basis for grades, an academic integrity policy, and a disability access statement.”

“I can mediate course-related student conflicts in accordance with Benilde’s policies.”

“I can adhere to the institutional policies regarding the Data Privacy Law of 2012.”

“As needed, I can revise course content and instructional materials based on student feedback.”

“I can obtain assistance and support for either myself or my students at the appropriate time.”

“I can communicate my expectations about student behavior in my course (i.e., netiquette).”

“I can communicate and monitor compliance regarding institutional academic integrity policies.”

“I can securely report grades to students in BigSky and input final grades into the College’s Student Information System (SIS) as required.”

“I can notify students through a variety of communication tools when I am unavailable to participate in course-related activities.”

05. Planning Your Course

It’s time to get to work! The first step is to plan your online course well. Fortunately, you don’t have to start from scratch. Secure a copy of the latest approved syllabus of your course, and work with your colleagues in revising it for online learning modality.

Step 1: Reevaluate the Course Syllabus

Course Outcomes

► Begin with the end in mind. Revisit your course outcomes and see if they can all be reasonably achieved through online delivery and within the duration of the term.
► In adjusting learning outcomes, always make sure that the language you use is clear and easily understood by your learners.

Course Description

► Adjust the course description to give the learner a holistic understanding of what is to be expected of them to learn and demonstrate in full online modality.
► Anticipate the usual questions and misconceptions you have observed in face-to-face classes. Try to include these details to lessen inquiries and ambiguity for online delivery.
► Include a list of equipment they will need to prepare in completing your course.
► Include your contact information and regular work hours so they know when to expect your response.

Content Modules

► Align your topics, readings/references, activities, and assessments with your course competencies and desired outcomes.

► Categorize them into Must-Haves and Nice-to-Haves. This is to avoid a usual pitfall of educators: pushing content for content’s sake.
        ▹ Must-Haves are important topics that will directly help learners achieve the main goals of your course. These cannot be sacrificed and must be covered in the course.
        ▹ Nice-to-Haves are adjacent topics that are useful but may be marked as optional/supplemental readings/references to strengthen the understanding of important topics or build on certain skills.

► Chunk your Must-Haves into distinct modules to aid comprehension. Keep in mind the reasonable amount of course work that a student can do per week. Yours is not the only course they are taking, and it can be difficult to manage several online requirements at the same time.
        ▹ For example: 1 module can be allotted 6 hours worth of total course work per week. This should already include studying the lecture materials, answering quizzes, completing and submitting requirements, as well as participating in synchronous and asynchronous discussions with you and their peers.

► Place Nice-to-Haves as supplemental submodules under related Must-Have modules. Give them as recommended study materials, and indicate clearly that these are not mandatory for consumption. Consider giving positive reinforcement like awards and badges to commend those who do access them.

Step 2: Adjust Activities and Requirements

► Think about which types of online activities you can give that are engaging and can motivate students to learn further.
        ▹ Consider giving more authentic assessment activities that ask to apply, demonstrate, or create than those that focus on recall and identification.
        ▹ Cooperative and collaborative activities are just as good for online classes, so long as you provide the tools/venue and guidelines for them..

► Identify what activities are suitable for each topic/module, and which can be done individually, in pairs, or in groups.

► Assess the requirements the student needs to do per module. How long will it take them to complete a requirement? Do not forget to include this in the number of learning hours that you've set per module.

► Activities for Nice-to-Have topics should be given as a bonus, and these should not have the same grade weight as main activities for your Must-Haves. You may classify them as bonus activities for plus points.

Step 3: Revisit your Assessment Rubrics

► For authentic assessment activities, make sure that you have a set of rubrics that are aligned to assessing intended course outcomes. For example, if it's a Gen Ed video essay, do focus on assessing the content more and not too much on the tools used or the quality of the video.

In the same vein, if a major subject requires a written output, ease up on criteria such as grammar and design your rubrics to assess more the demonstration of desired outcomes.

Step 4: Plan Your Instructional Materials

Sort and Update

► Identify which of your existing instructional materials are still relevant, and which ones need to be upgraded or remade entirely.

► Determine which resource materials are essential to go through and which ones are going to be supplementary.

►Think about how you can compress certain topics into one or two instructional materials instead of giving many external resources and links. Even if all your resources are learner-friendly, the fact that there are many can still add to the cognitive and psychological burden of many learners.

Learner Considerations

► Identify which of your existing instructional materials are still relevant, and which ones need to be upgraded or remade entirely.

► Determine which resource materials are essential to go through and which ones are going to be supplementary.

►Think about how you can compress certain topics into one or two instructional materials instead of giving many external resources and links. Even if all your resources are learner-friendly, the fact that there are many can still add to the cognitive and psychological burden of many learners.

Step 5: Plan Your Synchronous Sessions for the Term

► Plan and calendar your synchronous sessions ahead of time.

► Show this schedule to your students on the first day of the course, and negotiate the schedules with them.

► Each session does not have to be very long. An average of an hour to two hours (1-2 hours) per session is long enough.

► It is highly encouraged to have weekly synchronous sessions to touch base with your students and have enough time to clarify and engage with each module more deeply. However, if weekly synchronous sessions will not be convenient for everyone, make sure to have two to four real-time sessions for the entire term at a minimum, and provide a recording so that students who were not able to join in may view the video at their own convenience.

► Plot your synchronous sessions in BigSky’s calendar, and create News reminders so everyone can prepare and be online at the same time.

06. Setting Up Your Course

You have reworked your learning plan, and now it is time to put that plan into action. Go to your BigSky course to start putting your courseware together.

Step 1: Upload Syllabus to Overview

► The syllabus serves as your learning contract with your students, so it’s important to make it accessible to your students in BigSky 24/7.

► Upload your freshly updated syllabus to the Overview portion of your BigSky course’s Content. It doesn’t matter if it’s an MSWord or PDF file. Just drag and drop the file to the dotted-lined box and wait for the document to appear.

Step 2: Create a Module 0

Every course needs to start with a proper introduction to set the proper expectations, and Module 0 or your Orientation Module - whatever you may want to call it - should contain the following 10 basic information:
     1. Introduction/Welcome Video - Brush your hair and wash your face. This is a short video of you addressing your learners on camera and setting expectations as you would normally do for a face-to-face class. Why is this important? Because this is your first personal engagement with your class, and you will want them to make a lasting connection with you.
     2. Course Description - a quick overview, including the number of Units or Modules to expect throughout the duration of the course.
     3. Course Outcomes
     4. Instructor Information
     5. Course Duration
     6. Approximated weekly time investment to comply with requirements
     7. Methods of Instruction
     8. Course Requirements
     9. Course Rules
     10. Instructor’s Schedule

PRO TIP: Create a Checklist for Module 0

Checklist is a tool in BigSky that lets learners tick off their accomplishments one by one. It is not gradable, but it can be logged and tracked as an activity.
To assure that your students have really gone through your orientation materials, and that they understand what they have read, compel them to complete an orientation checklist that include statements like the following:
    ► I have watched the Welcome Video.
    ► I have clear expectations of the course.
    ► I have read and understood the rules of the course.
    ► I know that I will be expected to …
    ► I know how to navigate my way through this BigSky course.

This practice not only assures you, the instructor, that you and your students are all on the same page right from the beginning, but it also makes your students more aware and accountable of his/her actions within the course, even if your orientation is asynchronously delivered.

You may want to reward the completion of this checklist with a badge from the Awards tool.

Step 3: Organize Content

Be reminded that you are guiding students to achieve the learning outcomes through a series of tasks and activities, and the way you organize information in modules and submodules can either ease or add to the cognitive burden of your learners.

Ordering Topics and Modules

► Consider the different ways of ordering content within your modules:
        ▹ Sequential - simple to complex, familiar to unfamiliar, problem-solution, small pieces to bigger picture
        ▹ Non-Sequential - case studies, scenarios

PRO-TIP: Consistency is key.

► Remember to also design the content in a clear and consistent structure for intuitive navigation. Details such as instructions, tasks, reading links, discussion links, should be in the same position and type format throughout your modules and submodules.

Scaffolding

Scaffolding is an instructional method used to organize topics in gradually increasing difficulty. This also means that large tasks may be broken down into smaller ones so that students can slowly build on what they already know and increase their confidence in learning independently.

Since much of online learning will happen asynchronously, it is important for us to consider what our learners can do on their own, what they need assistance with, and what they cannot do yet at different points in the course (Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development, 1978). We need to be careful not to make them feel overwhelmed, lost, helpless, or unmotivated: all of which are signs of cognitive overload.

Furthermore, there are also students who generally shy away from approaching their instructors even when they really need to. When they do this, they might be avoiding the very support that they need in order to succeed. But by carefully designing the progression of your course, there is a greater chance that they will be motivated to explore solutions for the questions they may have on their own.

Here are some ways to effectively scaffold your course materials:
► Remove unnecessary tasks or simplify requirements based on outcomes.
► Create content materials that highlight important concepts, are easy to understand, and direct to the point.
► Break down assessments into smaller, more manageable tasks, and provide constructive feedback.
► Provide examples whenever you can.
► Align your assessments so that each builds on the one after, and is related to the one before.
► Break complicated topics down into smaller chunks, and include questions or points to ponder every so often to stimulate reflection or metacognition.

07. Designing Assessment Activities

Assessment Strategies for Online Learning

Assessments should measure a student's competencies and not what they have memorized from a resource material. Here are several types of assessments which are better-suited for online learning:

Self assessment

► Assessing one’s self is a type of formative assessment that will enable students to reflect and be focused on their own learning, and not (yet) on the numerical grades. You can set up a series of questions, just like a quiz, using the Self Assessment tool of BigSky. Again, note that this cannot be graded.

► BigSky link: https://bit.ly/2ZqRjFj

► Allow learners to reflect on their learning

Self assessment

► Peer assessment Having students assess each other’s work (in pairs or groups of 3) will help them develop a keenness to details, improve their work, and engage in the course material completely.

► Remember to provide a peer assessment rubric for them to be guided and have an objective assessment.

► Apart from using Discussions, students can also use collaborative apps to give comments such as Google Docs or Google Slides. To enable critical feedback, a blind peer review can also be used using a Chrome extension, Peergrade.

Feedback

► Feedback is a formative assessment to improve students’ learning and performance. This can be in the form of a numerical grade for a written assignment, a quiz, or through participation in an online discussion. However, constructive qualitative feedback given in written/audio/video format specific to the student would be more meaningful and is highly recommended.

► Brightspace link: https://bit.ly/2yp29AE

► Add feedback and evaluations to assignments

Authentic Assessment and Rubrics

► Authentic assessments are problem-solution assessments based on real-life scenarios. And because we don’t get “graded” in real-life, it’s best to assess and evaluate using a set of rubrics.

► A rubric is a learning measurement tool that allows assessment or evaluation based on a set of criteria and levels of performance. Each criterion has detailed descriptions of levels of performance that students can use prior to the start of an activity, while the activity is happening, and after the activity is completed to gauge how well they are meeting the desired standards. There is little ambiguity, and students can refer to the rubrics to know what they did well, but more importantly, how to improve for the future. Brightspace link:

► Brightspace link: Rubrics https://bit.ly/2WQyUzX7

NOTE: Assessments help students as well as teachers. We can gain valuable insights from these student data to improve the design and delivery of their courses.

BigSky Assessment Tools

Take a look back on your learning outcomes to determine which types of activities are best suited to your topics. Which tasks should be individually completed, and which should be by group? Will it be done asynchronously at the learner’s own pace, or should this be done synchronously while everybody is online at the same time? What tools should I use to translate these tasks online?

Groups

► BigSky ‘s Groups tool allows you to create groupings as you would in a face-to-face class. Grouping can be done by assignment, through voluntary registration, or through the random grouping feature.

► Groupings can also be used in tandem with tools like Dropbox submissions, Discussions, Grades, News, and many others so that you only need to grade and give feedback to one submission per group, and all the members of the group will receive the same score and comments.

Dropbox

► Student submissions are important in asynchronous online assessments, and BigSky’s Dropbox tool can be used for individual or group submissions.

► For file submissions, any type of file may be uploaded to BigSky, and you can download these for feedback or grading if you want. The Rubrics tool can be used with Dropbox so you can provide a more measurable form of feedback, when necessary


You don’t have to always just type your comments to student works. You can audio record your responses, or even upload a video feedback if you want. Facial expressions and tone of voice, after all, add a valuable dimension to your input that students will definitely look forward to. This way, you can have a more personal engagement with your students as they work on improving their work throughout the course.

In setting up your Dropbox folder, you can change the submission options from file submission to text submission. Subjects that require the submission of large files, Youtube-uploaded videos, or sites URLs can use this setting.

Explore other setting preferences to suit your needs.
Tell your students your preferred file format submissions so you won’t have any problems opening them or downloading them for feedback and grading. The PDF file format is highly recommended, as it can be opened by any operating system.

Also, advise them to consider lowering the quality of the document when they export to PDF. Simple text documents don’t need to be exported as “best” to be readable. This will save you all a lot of upload and download time.

Submissions

File formats and sizes. Be aware of the file formats of the requirements. Make sure that you can view their files as well as them accessing your materials. As for the file sizes, a 5-minute video can take around 5-7 minutes to upload, but this depends on the size and the resolution of the video.

Brightspace Help: Create assignments and assess submissions

https://bit.ly/2LBPaOZ

Discussions

► One of the best activities for online learning is Discussions because it allows students to engage with the material, with you, and their peers; it gives them a chance to reflect on what they know and understand, negotiate ideas, and deepen their understanding and realizations of the topics being discussed.

► Discussions work well synchronously, but work even better asynchronously because your students are given ample time to read and think carefully before they share ideas and comments.

Using BigSky’s Discussions tool, open the idea to your students that they can post their answers or reflections using videos, images, and even sound bites in place of or in combination with their written answers to your discussion prompts. This way, they can express their individuality and feel that their preferences are supported.

You, as the instructor, also have the freedom to use and embed multimedia prompts that can make participation more engaging for your students.

The beauty of Discussions is that everyone can learn from everybody else. Require your students to comment on at least two or three other students’ works, and provide a feedback structure for them to follow like the one in this example below:

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Describe your personal understanding of what Educational Technology is in 3-5 sentences.
2. Comment on at least two of your peers’ posts using the following format:

A. What I like about your insight is _____ because _____.
B. I think it would have been better if _____ because _____.
C. Your output made me realize that _____ because _____.

Putting a structure to peer commenting will elicit more meaningful peer feedback than the usual “good job,” which can be quite useless to learners who are looking for genuinely helpful feedback.

Release activities early on in the week and allow your students a couple of days to comply with your requirements. Stick to your deadlines, but keep your discussion forum open for longer so students can still go in, learn from the collective feedback, or even continue discussions with their peers.

Quizzes

► Quizzes are a useful measure of learning, whether face-to-face or online. However, most online quizzes can self-check and provide instant feedback to students, and we should learn to take full advantage of this automation.

The Quiz tool is usually used for summative assessments like midterms or finals, but consider using it for some formative exercises as well. Create simple, short quizzes that students can take to “self-check” their grasp of a certain concept they have just learned. Adjust the settings in your quiz so that students can see the right answers from the wrong immediately after the attempt, and set zero to minimal grade weights to the activity.

 

If you’re working to improve proficiency, you can use the Quiz tool to create drills and exercises that are meant to be taken over and over again for extra practice. Give several attempts and adjust to shorter but still reasonable time limits for completion.

If you already have a pool of quiz questions to work with – say 50 to 100 questions – you can set your BigSky quiz to randomly pull ten or twenty questions at a time, and each student attempt will have a unique mix and order of questions to be answered. This not only helps to discourage cheating, but it also helps to test if your students really have a good grasp of the con—–

 

Just make sure that the pool of questions you are randomizing from are all on the same topic and of the same levels of difficulty.

 

Like in Concept Self-Checks, you can adjust the settings to reveal the right and wrong answers after the quiz has closed to give your students a chance to use the quiz as a review material.

If you have students who will not be able to take the quiz at the same time as the rest of the class, and you still want to give them the quiz, you don’t have to create a new quiz just for them. Simple go to the Restrictions tab of your Quiz Settings and give them a different date and time of access. None of your other students will know or be affected by the quiz, and your special access setting will help ensure that your quiz’s integrity has not been compromised.

08. Evaluating for Outcomes

Product and Process

► Product and Process We can gauge our students’ learning success based on Product, Process, or a combination of both. Product refers to summative evaluations, final products/outputs (e.g., authentic assessments), and other culminating activities that demonstrate learning. Process, on the other hand, pertains to students’ effort or work habits that primarily highlights not just the ultimate output of the students, but also how they got there. This may include formative quizzes, class participation, and other asynchronous activities.

The Benilde Grading System

► The Benilde Grading System is what we use to assess the class performance of our students, and it serves as a feedback mechanism for them about their achievement. As students regard their grades as a recognition of their success, our online class records should always be well maintained, accessible, updated, correct, and accurate.

Zero-Based Scoring

► The College implements a zero-based grading system; this effectively means that any transmutation of grades shall NOT be allowed because transmutation does not represent the authentic and actual performance of the students. The collection and evaluation of evidence on students' achievement or performance should be exclusively based on their raw scores. The rate of the achievement will be divided against the highest possible score, multiplied by 100, to get the grade of the student.

Benilde Grading Scheme

The Benilde Grading Scheme is used to develop grading and reporting practices that provide quality information about student learning:

07. Instructor’s Checklist

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Content (Administrative and Pedagogical: Planning and Preparation)

  • Is there information on the types of assistance available to online learners (concerns IT, BigSky, mental health, etc.)?
  • Do students know the “best” way to communicate with you for course-related concerns (i.e., email, text, etc.)? 
  • How will students get in touch with you during unexpected/emergency situations?
  • Is it clear to learners how their performance will be evaluated? Are scoring rubrics available for online tasks, especially high-stakes requirements?
  • Are there graded and non-graded(optional but useful) activities in the course?
  • Which activities will be done independently? With a partner? With a group?
  • Are there opportunities for self- or peer assessment?
  • Is the link (rationale) between the type of assessment and the intended learning outcome clear?
  • How about feedback?
  • Are there opportunities for learners to connect with the course material (critical thinking and creativity)? 
  • Are there opportunities to engage with other learners (collaboration and communication)? Are the netiquettes to be observed?
  • How about connecting with one’s self through reflection (self-assessment of learning)?
  • How often will you communicate reminders and deadlines? Important course announcements?
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