Friday, May 29, 2015

Building Superior Rubrics

Why Use Rubrics?

Rubrics are a grading tool that provides detailed expectations for evaluating student performance.  Rubrics are often used for grading projects, however, they are an excellent tool for grading higher order skills such as, collaboration, performance, and critical thinking.  Rubrics are an excellent way to help improve student and teacher performance and to help keep grading consistent.

Benefits of Rubrics

Rubrics have many benefits for both instructors and students.  Rubrics:
  • Help align the assignment with the learning goals or competencies of the course
  • Make the expectations clear for students and help students evaluate their own work
  • Make assessment more objective and consistent because they specify the key components to grade
  • Provide opportunities for self-assessment and/or peer-assessment
  • Provide feedback for students
  • Provide feedback on instruction for instructors
  • Provide students with experience using rating scales and rubrics that can transfer to medical practice

 

How to Get Started with Rubrics?


Building a rubric requires a lot of planning but it helps clarify the expectations for students from the beginning of an assignment.  It also helps students self-assess their progress as they work because they have the criteria from the beginning. There is a lot of flexibility in designing a rubric so it is easy to adapt it to your needs.  Many instructors find it beneficial to have some general rubrics for the class and then to adapt these for specific assessments.
 
A typical rubric consists of
  1. Performance Elements (rows)
  2. Scale (columns)
  3. Descriptors/Criteria (cells)
  4. Scoring




     

    How to Make a Rubric?


    Building a rubric from scratch can seem like a daunting task, but there is no correct way to make a rubric. Below is a guideline of how to create a rubric to help get you started:

    1. Performance Elements
      • The first step is to determine what your performance elements are for the rubric.  It is helpful to think about the specific outcomes in the task that you want to assess.  It is also helpful to consider what other related experiences students have had.
      • Determine your learning objective(s)
      • Decide the format of your rubric:
        • Matrix (table) format
        • Holistic rubrics are used when performance is pass/fail or if there are many interrelated criterion.
        • Checklists can be used for assessments that are pass/fail or based on completion of tasks.  There is no scale or descriptors in checklists.
        • Analytic rubrics assess each criterion separately.
      2. Scale (columns)
      • The second step is to decide how many levels of performance (the scale) you want in your rubric.
      • Scales typically contain 3-6 levels that include descriptions and/or point values associated with each level.  Points are not required.
      • Scale levels can be adapted to meet the needs of the project.
      • The Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition is a very common scale used for medical education.
        • 1)Novice, 2) Intermediate, 3) Competent,  4) Proficient,  5) Expert
      3. Descriptors/Criteria for Performance (cells)
      • To fill in the cells of your rubric, you need to consider your learning objectives and what a performance should look like.  Ask yourself what an excellent example looks like and then think about what responses along the continuum would look like.
      • These descriptions are a guide for creation and scoring.  Make sure your wording is consistent and clear for these descriptors.
        • Quantitative descriptors require a specific amount of a performance element. This is precise in what is expected but can be restrictive
        • Qualitative descriptors use adjectives which can allow more flexibility but are less precise
      • It is a good idea to have a colleague or student look over your rubric to make sure your descriptors are clear and understandable for students.
      4. Scoring
      • Rubrics can have points associated with the scale or not depending on your needs. You can weight specific performance criteria if desired.
        • Formative Assessments are for checking understanding and do not have points associated with them.
        • Summative Assessments test learning and often have points associated with them.
        • Students participation and honest reflection increases in self assessment if there are points associated with it.

      Resources


      Rubrics are great assessment tools that help benefit both instructors and students on complex projects or assignments.  Here are some great resources for using rubrics in your classroom.

      Rubric Banks:
      Rubric Creation Tools:
       If you would like a more in-depth discussion of rubrics, you can watch the recorded podcast of "Creating Superior Rubrics" by Doug Adams.  The presentation slides are also available in Google Docs and can be downloaded into PowerPoint or PDF format.

      Contact TLT-EdTech (x8-7107) with questions about how to incorporate rubrics into your course.

      Wednesday, May 27, 2015

      Removing VHS/DVD Combo Players from All TLT-Media Classrooms

      Over the summer break, we will finish removing the obsolete VHS/DVD combination video players from all TLT-Media classrooms, auditoriums, and conference rooms. You still will be able to play DVDs using the computer DVD player, but you will not be able to play VHS tapes in these rooms.

      If you need to play older VHS tapes in these rooms, please contact Ryan Wickstrom (x8-7064) to discuss options.

      Thursday, May 21, 2015

      Blackboard FAQ: SafeAssign - Determining the right set up for your assignment

      With SafeAssign in Blackboard, you can now check the originality of students' research papers against a database of number of online, journal, and previously submitted resources. Even though it is a simple click of a check box to enable this feature, you may first want to consider how to handle the submission of the research paper/assignment. I will provide instructions on how to set up the three most used submission types.



      One-Attempt Submission - Graded Final Submission


      Most faculty use this submission type. Students are allowed one attempt to submit their research paper/assignment. Faculty have the option to allow students to see the originality report. Here are the options you should set:

      1. Create the assignment as usual
      2. Click the "Submission Details" to expand these options
      3. As pictured above, set the following:
        1. A - Individual Submission
        2. B - Single Attempt
        3. C - Check submissions for plagiarism using SafeAssign
        4. D (optional) - Allow students to view SafeAssign originality report for their attempts

      Multiple-Drafts and One Final - Graded Final Submission Only

      Use this process if you want students to submit drafts to allow them to check their own originality reports. The faculty will only be concerned with the final submission and its originality report. You can provide feedback on drafts, but you are mainly concerned with viewing and grading the final submission. Here are the options you should set:
      1. Create the assignment as usual
      2. Click the "Submission Details" to expand these options
      3. As pictured above, set the following:
        1. A - Individual Submission
        2. B - Unlimited attemps
        3. C - Last Graded Attempt
        4. D - Check submissions for plagiarism using SafeAssign
        5. E - Allow students to view SafeAssign originality report for their attempts

      Multiple-Drafts and One Final - Graded Drafts and Graded Final

      Use this process if you give a grade for students' drafts and then have one final graded submission. What you need to do is to create an assignment for each draft you want students to submit and create an assignment for the final submission.

      For each graded draft, make these settings:
      1. Create the assignment as usual
      2. Click the "Submission Details" to expand these options
      3. As pictured above, set the following:
        1. A - Individual Submission
        2. B - Single Attempt
        3. C - Check submissions for plagiarism using SafeAssign
        4. D - Allow students to view SafeAssign originality report for their attempts
        5. E - Exclude submissions from the Institutional and Global References Databases
      For each graded final, make these settings:

      1. Create the assignment as usual
      2. Click the "Submission Details" to expand these options
      3. As pictured above, set the following:
        1. A - Individual Submission
        2. B - Single Attempt
        3. C - Check submissions for plagiarism using SafeAssign
        4. D - Allow students to view SafeAssign originality report for their attempts

      Update on Blackboard Issues May 18-19

      We believe we have traced the cause of Monday and Tuesday's periodic performance issues with Blackboard and that the issue has been resolved.

      Beginning just before noon on Monday, May 18, an issue with a database indexing task caused both Blackboard servers to temporarily spike CPU usage.  The end result was that users during this time may have experienced Blackboard running much more slowly than normal.  This issue reappeared at regular intervals roughly every three hours through the rest of Monday and much of Tuesday.  Each episode lasted approximately 30 minutes.  The rest of the time Blackboard performed normally.

      Throughout Monday and Tuesday, TLT worked with Blackboard support to isolate the issue and craft a fix as quickly as possible.  Our first attempt to apply a fix for this issue Tuesday afternoon was unsuccessful and resulted in down time between 3:20 and 4:49 pm.  The second attempt to apply the fix at 8:30 pm Tuesday night was successful.  We have seen no sign of the issue since that time.

      Thank you again for your patience during this busy time of the year as we worked to resolve this issue.  TLT monitors the performance of Blackboard and our other critical systems 24/7 towards the goal of minimizing all disruptions for our faculty and students. Our goal is always to restore each system to peak performance as quickly as possible.

      Wednesday, May 20, 2015

      Scheduled Blackboard Maintenace (5/26)

      We will be performing routine maintenance on May 26th. Starting at 7 AM Blackboard users may experience issues logging in or get kicked out of the system until noon. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

      Tuesday, May 19, 2015

      Adobe Connect Back Up

      Adobe Connect is live again following the attempted upgrade.  Because of issues encountered during the upgrade, we have had to fall back to the original version 9.0.4.  We will post more details in the near future concerning when we will attempt the upgrade again.  Thank you for your patience.

      Blackboard Down (RESOLVED)

      UPDATE: The problem with Blackboard has been resolved and the system is again available.  We do apologize for the inconvenience this caused.  Thank you for you patience.

      Blackboard is currently down.  We are working to restore access as quickly as possible and will update this post as soon as this status changes.