#TechTipThursday: Accessibility and assessments of learning

Earlier this week, Leah authored a guest blog post discussing growth mindset through the lens of her interim role as the Coordinator of Disability Services. As she differentiates growth mindset from a fixed mindset, Leah reminds us of the importance of “adjusting our paradigm about student growth and development” particularly as we support students with differing abilities. One area for opportunity specific to the teaching and learning environment is the language we use in our syllabi and other course documentation describing accommodations. The Provost’s Office simplifies this process for us with language on the Student Success Resources page (also available in the Canvas Commons, search term “Geneseo”). Similarly, this post is intended to simplify the process surrounding Canvas-based accommodations specific to quizzes and exams.

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#TechTipThursday: Managing A Learner’s “I” Grade

Incomplete grade

As we approach the end of a semester in higher education, the teaching and learning environment frequently experiences renewed focus on academic achievement. Conversations revolve around the availability of extra credit, final exams or seminar presentations, and the seemingly never-ending hours spent studying or grading in far greater frequency in the latter half of a semester than the former. While these topics may play a role in the lives of many within the teaching and learning environment, there are countless influences on a learner’s ability to complete course requirements. “A temporary grade of ‘I’ (incomplete) may be awarded when a student has been unable to complete a course due to circumstances beyond his, her, or their control” (2018-2019 Undergraduate Bulletin, SUNY Geneseo). Prior to awarding an incomplete, learners and faculty should be aware of institutional policies surrounding the grade and are encouraged to consult SUNY Geneseo’s 2018-2019 Undergraduate Bulletin for more information; this post highlights Canvas-based considerations for faculty when awarding an “I” (incomplete) grade.

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Going Beyond SoFis, Soliciting Meaningful Feedback

Feed Back pictogram

Meaningful participation in the student feedback process can be difficult for some educators, making SoFis a bitter pill for any number of reasons.  Perhaps students aren’t informed about what meaningful feedback looks like. Often students aren’t vested in the process or in providing serious feedback, sometimes because we don’t take the system seriously enough ourselves. Additionally, given the time of year, even when meaningful issues are raised we do not have the opportunity to course-correct and make impactful changes for those particular students. Given these observations one might think I was building a case for less solicitation of feedback instead of more. However, it is exactly for these reasons that I would suggest offering students an opportunity to provide more informal feedback throughout the semester. Doing so is not only a good, best practice but one of the best, best practices. Consider the added potential to increase the effectiveness of your teaching as well as provide a more positive SoFi experience for you and your students.

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#TechTipThursday: March and midterm grades

As the old adage suggests, March rolled into 2019 like a lion. Wintry weather can complicate plans at any number of levels, certainly, but it does not factor into our ability to celebrate academic success. Within the higher education environment, March celebrates the mid-point of a semester: midterm assessments of learning (e.g., exams, papers, projects) often followed immediately by spring break. What better time than March to offer learners comprehensive feedback about their progress?

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Academic Integrity in the Online Testing Environment

As faculty prepare their assessments (called quizzes in Canvas) to be delivered online, we are frequently asked for help with preventing cheating by students. There is no way (in class or online) to guarantee that students aren’t cheating, but there are various ways you can make your quizzes more secure.

Our advice covers three aspects:

  1. Ensuring students are aware of the College’s Academic Dishonesty Policy
  2. Creating Canvas quizzes with settings that maximize security
  3. Utilizing a custom browser (Respondus LockDown) that locks a testing environment within Canvas
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