Boris is trying to find some way to create a stand-alone, self-directed review tool for students learning the Periodic Table. It should allow students to review material, then test their knowledge. In a perfect world it would give students instant feedback that not only tells them if they’re right or wrong: it would give them formative feedback that helps them move towards the right answers.
Boris needs to expand his Moodle course. He already uses Moodle for class notes and assignments, now it’s time to explore Moodle’s other features. Since Boris does not have a minute of class time to spare I would suggest using Moodle quizzes, but that he should also think about adding a student created glossary, wiki, forum and other interactive learning objects. The former will required a lot of set up, creating questions and quizzes, where the later will require minimal set up. However, Moodle quizzes once set up have the feedback loop built in, where the other suggested options will require more of Boris’s time to monitor and provide feedback.
Moodle quizzes, when set up properly, will give students the instant and remedial feedback that Boris is looking for. When setting up the question bank Boris will want to ensure that the appropriate feedback in place for incorrect answers to move students towards the correct answer. He might consider adding references to page numbers, worksheets or websites. To save a bit of time he should consider importing already existing Moodle question banks and then tweak these questions and feedback to meet his needs.
My second suggestion would be to add a glossary, wiki, forum and other interactive objects to help students memorize the entire periodic table. These activities could be set up as peer assessed because “Peer assessment can encourage motivation, both through students looking at peers’ work and knowing their own work will be peer reviewed” (Jenkins, 2004) and it will position Boris as a guide on the side, a facilitator, giving more learning ownership to the students. These activities may be more engaging and active than a computer assisted assessment. Boris wants students to have a place to review material, but in order to make the material more engaging than notes and PowerPoints he should consider adding this other learning activities.
Simply setting up these items in his Moodle course will not be enough, Boris needs to keep the conditions for which assessment supports learning in mind. How will this stand alone tool fit into his course. While the conditions of sufficient, timely and constructive feedback can be met with proper Moodle quiz set up, the condition of students “orienting them (selves) to allocate appropriate amounts of time and effort to the most important aspects of the course.” (Gibbs & Simpson, 2005) is a little harder to ensure. Will these marks count? Is this mandatory? How will he encourage those students who need to review this material to do so? While I would love to think students will do this for the love of learning, Boris will probably need to position this material in his course syllabus to give it the appropriate weighting it deserves. I would suggest setting up the quizzes with a number of attempts and recording the highest as well as creating a quick checklist type rubric for the peer assessed activities.
Gibbs, G. and Simpson, C. (2005). “Conditions under which assessment supports students’ learning.” Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Accessed online 17 October 2010 http://www.open.ac.uk/fast/pdfs/Gibbs%20and%20Simpson%202004-05.pdf
Jenkins, M. (2004). “Unfulfilled Promise: formative assessment using computer-aided assessment.” Learning and Teaching in Higher Education , i, 67-80. Accessed online 17 October 2010 http://resources.glos.ac.uk/tli/lets/journals/lathe/issue1/index.cfm