Sunday, February 1, 2009

Survey Assignment

This semester I am teaching a new Western Civilization Course for CCCOnline that has some new assignments in it. Designed to incorporate course competencies, encourage originality, and be relevant to students by allowing them to focus on topics that most interest them, I believe these assignments are applicable to many courses and topics.

To provide my online students time to become acquainted with the course layout and their digital learning materials, the first assignment in the Introduction Unit asks students to create a survey of ten multiple-choice questions. They write only one question per chapter, because I want them to get an overview of the content in the course. The students then give this survey to ten people who are ten or older and record the results. They report their findings and share what they learned about the general-public’s knowledge of history and the reactions to the survey in a discussion. While giving the survey to people students inadvertently talk about history and the answers to the survey with their friends and family, which accomplishes one of the course competencies which is simply to speak about history. They also consider assessment design and delivery, which is particularly beneficial for my students who often plan to be high school teachers.

Then students post their five best or favorite questions for classmates to see and review. This student-generated content gives me an idea of the topics that most interest the class, and the students learn from each other by reviewing this bank of questions. Later in the semester, I will use my favorite questions for an extra credit quiz. This brings an added sense of relevancy when they are generating questions for their own exam.

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