Thursday, October 4, 2012
This year, I have further modified my course design by requiring a writing project at the end of every class. Last year, I added an activity component to the end of many classes; this year, students have to practice what they learned in the class before they leave. The tweak is small, but it is enough of a change that it requires me to do significant additional work each week.
The benefit of using this method is that I know, much earlier in the semester, who is struggling, and where they are struggling (rules, mechanics, etc). A student who needs additional help organizing her thoughts can see me earlier in the semester to get extra support. I can find out if a student should be tested for a learning disability early enough in the semester that the student can schedule the testing, and get the test results, before final exams.
The tough part of this is that I have to design a writing assignment for each class, and give feedback within a week. I have found that my students really, really dislike group work, which makes it more difficult to use peer-grading. I think this is part of the dynamic of my class, because it is very small (8 students)--there is no chance for anonymity.
I am very lucky that I work within the super-supportive ASP community. I have invaluable help and support from colleagues who also teach hybrid ASP-Remedies courses. I trade PowerPoints, lesson plans, and exams with other professors, which helps keep the writing assignments fresh and relevant. (RCF)