Previously we have explored how we keep students supported beyond O’Week and through the first half of semester, especially in the online environment. This month we continue using the First Year Support Strategies (FYSS) portal as a guide and with a focus on designing in ideas for final reflections and moving on from the topic.
Ideally you have put in place some strategies for maintaining momentum in your topics as well as activities for students to consolidate their learning through these next few weeks. This means designing for the end of the topic is in sight. Some questions to think about are:
- How are you and the students going to know that the topic learning outcomes have been met?
- What will they need to take forward into other topics (or the workplace?)
- Will the students be able to see how the topic fits within the learning outcomes of their overall course?
There are a number of strategies to consider as you approach the end of semester:
Consolidating and feeding forward
- Discuss learning outside of assessments – allow some time in a tutorial or via the discussion forum for students to discuss with you (and each other) if they feel they have met the learning outcomes. This is great to do before any final assessment.
- Run a ‘Muddiest point’ activity where students are invited to discuss what is still confusing or unclear. You could do this via the discussion forum or during an open Collaborate You could also do this via the Touchpoint survey.
- Make links to other topics and to the workplace – explain how the skills and knowledge from the topic support lifelong learning and how it fits into the workplace. You could do this using a mindmap or other visual representation.
- Make links between assessment and learning outcomes – ensure students understand how their final assessments demonstrate their achievement of the topic learning outcomes. Don’t assume they have read the Statement of Assessment Methods and understood that link. You could do this during a teaching session, via the discussion forum or as part of a short video explaining the assessment (see Video Staff Support entry).
- Feed forward with the feedback you give on assessments – final assessments should contain comments that feed forward into subsequent topics or into the workplace about how knowledge or skills can be used outside of the context of that particular assessment.
- Encourage topic feedback – Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs) have some flexible questions you might like to consider including.
- Organise a peer evaluation of teaching – this is terrific as a process of facilitated self-reflection and can be especially useful when you have been trying something new in your teaching (e.g. teaching online).
- Use the Touchpoint survey – this has questions that can be modified so you can focus it on how students found certain aspects of the topic that wouldn’t get covered in the SETs.
- Consider having your topic reviewed via the Academic Calibration process.
Think about how you might like to congratulate your students on getting through the topic during this challenging time. You may not see them in person but could you allocate the final part of a Collaborate session to celebrating the achievements everyone has made through the topic.
Coming up toward the end of semester gets very busy so start thinking about what you would like your students’ final experiences of the topic to be now!
Written by Cassandra Hood
Academic Developer – CILT