Transitioning to Online Teaching
The original proposal for the #DigPINS project was to create an online assignment. However, given the current global situation, all my courses suddenly transitioned to online teaching. I immediately started exploring new methods to communicate and collaborate with students. I recorded lectures, scheduled video meetings, assigned online homework and exams, and modified the grade book on Moodle. I could not believe I was fully immersed in digital pedagogy! The grade book was particularly important as students were able to receive immediate feedback on their work. Exams, quizzes and online assignments were directly linked to the grade book and students had easy access to a grading rubric.
For this blog, I will focus on the original #DigPINS project which explored new methods of assessment. Throughout the semester, students were assigned an essay and a final research paper. The writing assignments went through a peer-review process that involved multiple steps. The end product was rewarding and productive, however, we encountered a few challenges on our path. The main challenge was in relation to logistics. Going over the peer-review process took an entire class period and would have been a disaster without Susan Ashley’s support. We arranged for Susan to join the class for the second part. For the first half-hour, I discussed the format and expectations for the writing assignments. Susan explained the logistics of the peer-review process and answered questions.
After clarifying the expectations and logistics of the peer-review process, students submitted their work. Peers offered detailed feedback and suggested corrections. Moreover, the peer-review process encouraged students to analytically review an essay, critically reflect on the writing process and develop critical thinking skills. By offering the opportunity to do peer-review, students were actively engaged in the grading process. Also, students showed enthusiasm in sharing their thoughts about the grading rubric. I was glad to see students take an active role in crafting a rubric system which allowed for a more student-centered project. The peer-review task was an exciting opportunity to empower students to take an active role in their own learning. The project incorporated strategies presented in the Bryn Mawr model, especially digital communication and digital survival skills. Through digital platforms, students were able to actively communicate and collaborate on their projects and develop their reading, writing and language skills. Furthermore, students strengthen their digital survival skills as they learned to upload, download, edit and organize Google documents.
In this course, students showed an enthusiasm for the project and for the opportunity to collaborate with classmates in reviewing assignments. Comments regarding the peer-review assignments expressed an appreciation for detailed student feedback and recommendations for grammatical corrections. Through peer feedback, students were encouraged to analytical review their work and critically reflect on the writing process. Students reported peer review encouraged clarity, effective communication, and enhanced their work through an exchange of ideas.
The IT team was amazing! They offered their full support for this project, going completely online would have been impossible without them. Thank you!