• More Marking Madness

    If I don’t finish my marking very soon, they’re going to kill me. The phone calls are increasing. With the ADD, though, I just have this overwhelming sense of guilt, failure, and frustration. More about that later. Something must be done.
    Anyway, I have a plan. My Sweetie is helping me do some of the grunt administrative work that’s required (filling out the forms, uploading some of the files to each project directory to help check the functionality, checking for missing/incorrect project directories, etc.). While Sweetie’s doing that, I’ll put in a big push to finish assessing the remaining reports (22). Then, to take a break, I’ll fill in the scanning sheets for all the report-related marks for each student, and then have a go for a bit at assessing the coding parts of the projects.
    The coding part is cognitively easier to assess for me as it’s definitely more black and white (it works/it doesn’t work; it’s written well/it’s written poorly). It still takes time to do, though, because you have to check through all the functionality for various points and write up the notes.
    With luck, proper use of my ADD medication, and SweetieSupport, I hope to get it all in tomorrow evening’s post. I’ll let you know how I make out.

  • Marking Madness and Motivation

    Project marking has to be one of the banes of my existence. Right now I’m working on grading an end of course project consisting of a coding component and a report. The coding component is fairly straightforward to do. Other than perpetual shock at the things people believe is good design/coding, it’s something I can do in a reasonable amount of time. The part I have trouble with is the report.
    Actually, any kind of marking where you need to subjectively weigh how close an answer is to what you want is difficult for me. Perhaps it’s because Ein’s have two states in many things in life: Ein/Auf, Happy/Sad, Tired/Bouncy. There’s not much room for shades of grey in the EinWorld.
    Anyway, that leaves me with a 53 projects to finish and I’m already two weeks late and having trouble mustering any enthusiasm for it. To be fair, I already finished doing 60 for another course which also had a coding component and a project, so I am feeling a little burnt out and I do have attention deficit disorder. Nevertheless, I promised I’d be done.
    As things stand, I finished 5 completely before deciding to switch to doing all the reports first. As the reports are independent of the coding component, that’s feasible. I picked the reports to do first because I like them the least and I’ll feel the most relieved when they’re done and the rest will be easy.
    Of the 48 reports to grade, I’ve done thirteen. Any motivation, inspiration, or encouragement welcome!

  • Conceptual Change

    David Jonassen visited the IDEAs lab on May 11th from the University of Missouri to present a talk on “Model-Building for Conceptual Change (Cognitive Tools in Action)”. While this isn’t (or so I thought) related to my own research or interests in any way, we were all encouraged to attend if possible and I’m always interested in talks about learning in general. Here, belatedly, is a synopsis of my understanding of his presentation.
    The key underlying principle seemed to emphasize having people fail in their problem solving attempt at some issue because then conceptual change has a change to be engaged and then students will learn. This failure need not be catastrophic; in fact, it probably should not be, I would say, or the failure would foster a strong sense of discouragement, which is not going to get a student into the “learning zone.” So, how do you put students into a non-threatening environment where they can safely experiment and fail? David Jonassen’s idea was to encourage them to engage in model building which demonstrates their conceptual understanding of the problem/issue at hand. When learners build models,their understanding of the problem domain is deepened because you cannot model what you do not understand. Model building also allows you, as the instructor, to view the learner’s level of conceptual change as their models evolve. It is therefore possible to assess their underlying understanding without resorting to formal assessment tests. Finally, David Jonassen suggested that model building also improves critical reasoning and thinking because model building forces the model builder to examine the process and problem solving methodology.
    David Jonassen researches (among other things) the use of technology in educational settings to improve understanding. More information on his approaches to problem solving are available from on the following web site page: http://tiger.coe.missouri.edu/~jonassen/PB.htm.

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  • Fame & Fortune

    From this week’s Bulletin, newsletter of the University of Sussex.

    A part-time DPhil student in the Informatics department has won a national Associate Lecturer Teaching Award from the Open University (OU). Michelle Hoyle started teaching in the OU’s Faculty of Technology in May 2000 and delivers internet technology courses, primarily online. The award will be presented on 20 April at a ceremony in Milton Keynes and comes with £1,000 to be used for personal and/or professional development.

    It’s also on the front page of the Informatics web site at the university. It’s my 15 minutes of fame this year. (-:

  • Bulletin Bravada

    I spent part of today working on a 100-word statement that the Open University wants to put on their web site closer to the time of the award presentation ceremony. I find it ironic that, after writing two pages about myself in order to apply for the award, I have to write another 100. I find it even more ironic that I also had to suggest a sentence to put on the certificate. For the certificate, Stephen and I eventually settled on “for outstanding dedication and excellence in on-line teaching.”

    That still left the hundred words to be written. I reviewed my original award application material and put together the following:

    Michelle focuses on Internet technology courses delivered primarily on-line. In TT280/TT281 (Design, Development, and Management/Client-Side Scripting), she provides extensive guidance through the development of supplementary course materials, in-depth FAQs, and a strong breadth of knowledge. She is a passionate communicator about technology, believing technology is sometimes only as difficult as people make it. Therefore, demonstrating a belief that students can achieve is a key to student success. In computing and technology, where women are scarce, she is a visible role model that women can succeed well in these traditionally male-dominated fields even if they have tangible weaknesses to overcome.

    Once I had that out of the way, I decided I might as well go whole hog and e-mail the The Bulletin as suggested by Thufir. Not being familiar with the publication and what information they might require, I probably went overboard.

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