Applying Seminars to the Classroom
I implemented what I learned from the PTP seminar, "Course Design, From Assessment to Zombies" when I designed my course Conservation for the 21st Century. Before taking the seminar, I was unsure as how to break away from the a lecture/exam course format and into a discussion-based course that centered student discovery. I knew that I wanted projects, discussions, and papers to be the central activities of the course, but I was unsure of what exactly I would measure student learning and what students would really get out of the activities themselves.
After taking the seminar, I learned that I needed to design with the end in mind. What were the take away messages I wanted students to have at the end of the semester? By beginning with the ideas that I wanted students to master, I could then create learning objectives and assessment that reflected those goals. As you can see from my seminar worksheet, if I wanted students to critique conservation through social and economic principles, then writing reflections based from reading and discussion materials is a good way to measure their ability to do so.
This workshop helped me build a cohesive framework in which to measure student learning. When I first imagined designing the course, I knew that I wanted course projects and papers as the central assessment, but I had few examples of how to do that successfully in a STEM course. Through this seminar, I learned that this type of assessment was most effective for my course goals. This gave me the confidence that I was building a course with assessment that was appropriate for student learning, I simply had to be clear on the goals.