Use the class-based sessions of a blended course to make informal checks on student learning, reserving some time at the beginning or end of a class session to discuss progress and explore aspects of the online tasks to acknowledge online learning that is taking place. A simple alternative is to ‘drop in’ on virtual study tasks, to get a feel for how a discussion or collaborative task is unfolding.
In this third-year module, students were divided up into groups and each given a task to summarise key findings from the research literature on an aspect of ecological and evolutionary science.
This task was conducted online as part of their formative ‘out-of-class’ study activities. They were given a group blog for research with their findings written up in a group wiki space. To ensure that students remained on track and to build in a feedback loop on progress with this task, a slot of 1-2 minutes was reserved at the beginning of the lecture for a different group each week to report back on progress – making a brief presentation on their group report.
Utilising Informal Feedback
Peter Mayhew (Biology)
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Selected questions or surveys can be included mid-way through a module, again to help you judge the reception and progress of learning activities.
Interim feedback taken at the end of the first term on a ‘long-thin’ module will also enable adjustments to be made for the subsequent term.
In this postgraduate programme students used group blog and wiki spaces to research and draft solutions to each learning outcome for a problem that they had been given.
Although the research and negotiation of the finalised solution was intended to be unguided with no input from the problem based learning tutor, an interim face-to-face meeting was convened midway through each exercise to check that students were on the right track and to address any procedural issues with the performance of the task. This was helpful in reassuring students who were unfamiliar with the unguided group research approach and use of online tools that they were tackling the task in the intended way – in this way helping to clarify expectations.
Utilising Interim Feedback
John Bennett (York Law School)
LLM International Corporate and Commercial Law
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