As I reach the last section of the TOOL certification classes I’m looking back on all that I have learned and relearned. I’ve been teaching online for seven years for my district and completed the first online certification class that the state offered. I see some of the same information being presented and new information. I’ve been reminded of practices that I usually use and the importance of using them regularly. I haven’t had to have weekly meetings but see the importance of them in the online format that GAVS uses. I feel like a skydiver, ready to jump off into something new and supported by all the information that has been covered in this class.
Below are the iNacol standards covered by the Evaluate module. Below each standard is the information that I have learned in this module that helps me meet the standard.
Standard D: The online teacher promotes student success through clear expectations, prompt responses, and regular feedback.
This standard has been visited in almost every module. I have seen how the use of the LMS helps to provide good, targeted feedback. In the module Evaluate 2- Data Driven Instruction and Analysis I looked at how to use LMS analytics to drive student feedback and parent contact. It is easier for me to see at a glance when parent and/or student contact needs to be made. I am much less likely to miss when a student is having problems when teaching online by looking at LMS reports. In the classroom I would notice if a student isn’t paying attention or is struggling through physical cues. Those cues can be provided by the LMS reports. The LMS reports can guide intervention, remediation, and enrichment.
The Copy of Ocean Article article showed the importance of feedback in improving student work. The assignment was very difficult for the students and targeted feedback was important since the ADI model was to be used at least four times throughout the year. In order for the students to gain an understanding of how to correctly complete the assignment individual feedback was given as well as class feedback for problems that were had by most of the class. The importance of targeted feedback was emphasized in Section 1: Evaluation and Feedback. The need for quality feedback, with specific comments, is necessary in the online environment because that is what the student will use to improve their work. I have found the need for targeted feedback very helpful in my face to face classroom but use it much more in my online classes since I don’t often speak with them so that is how I communicate progress to them.
Standard G: The online teacher demonstrates competencies in creating and implementing assessments in online learning environments in ways that ensure validity and reliability of the instruments and procedures.
For this standard it is stressed that testing needs to be valid and reliable. The validity of the ES Final Exam Test was developed by working with a group of teachers and the review of questions from a large bank each year. The validity of the online version of the test rested on using the bank as a pool for questions, randomizing questions and answer order, timing the test, and allowing only one question to be viewed at a time. This method reduced the chance of students being able to work together and having time to look up answers while testing.
The importance of having a large bank of questions and giving students a time limit for working on the test is very important in the online environment where it is difficult to proctor tests the way it would occur in the physical classroom. It is also important to compare student scores on tests to the work that they have turned in during the class to check that the same person is doing the classwork and the testing.
In developing assessment, especially pre-assessments, it is very important to determine what a student knows as well as what the thought process is. I have found the AAAS Science Assessment very helpful in finding out misconceptions. The questions have been field tested so I know that they are valid. The website also allows me to analyze the types of errors that the students make. This is a great help in driving instruction. This is a pdf of the assessment-zzaobj.
I find preassessments very useful in personalizing instruction for students. I can touch on concepts that the preassessment shows most of the class already understands. It is also possible to provide more instruction for those students that show gaps or misconceptions when assessed before the unit starts. It is also possible to provide enrichment material in areas that students show basic mastery. This is especially easy in the online environment because students can be enrolled in specific lessons tailored to their needs.
Standard H: The online teacher develops and delivers assessments, projects, and assignments that meet standards-based learning goals and assesses learning progress by measuring student achievement of the learning goals.
Developing the Unit 02 Water Competency Based Instruction shows how to find out the skills students already have. By giving a pretest on standards that the students have been exposed to several times it is much easier to target what help is needed. Doing this lowers the review of material that has already been mastered and allows students to progress if they show mastery of the standards. Students can spend time expanding on their knowledge instead of hearing information that they already know.
I was very surprised at how easy it was to use materials that I already taught with and change the lesson to a competency based one. I really like the idea of having students move at their own pace and making sure each student is receiving targeted instruction based on their needs. I feel that competency based learning is very well suited to online learning. I will be changing more of my lessons to competency based ones because of this activity.
Standard I: The online teacher demonstrates competency in using data from assessments and other data sources to modify content and to guide student learning.
The LMS that is used can really make this standard easy. I found the LMS reports gave me a quick look at who had finished assignments and how they had done. It was very easy to use this report to contact individual students for follow up.
I used the LMS Reports from my LMS to look at quiz assessments to see what I needed to reteach and give targeted help to specific students. I looked at specific questions to see how many students got the answer correct and, just as importantly, what answers they gave instead.
The Evaluate module reviewed the importance of well thought out assessments. It went over the different reports that an LMS can provide to help with assessments. I found that developing the unit on competency was the most useful. It showed me how to take what I did and make it more of a competency model of teaching. I used lessons that I have done and tweaked them slightly, by giving pretests, to make them align more with the competency method of teaching. I enjoyed planning it and feel I will incorporate this into my teaching.
I think that students will be much more willing to complete work if they don’t have to spend a lot of time covering material that they already can show mastery of. This honors the time they spend on the class and allows them to focus on material that they still need to learn.