In the last post I made some observations about how teaching in a U2.0 environment differs from traditional teaching. Here’s another one.
When more of the responsibility for learning is put on the students, in addition to the teacher spending more time answering questions than presenting material, he or she also spends more time assessing student work. At least that’s been the case with me over the last few years. I don’t mean I spend more time grading per se; rather I spend a lot more of my time checking to see that students are on track. For example, using just-in-time teaching methods students read the material and complete a formative assessment. The results of the assessment inform how the instructor spends his or her time in the classroom.
Students need to know if they’re off track before formal (and high value) exams. If the teacher doesn’t regularly supervise the assessment students are doing, the system breaks down. Using this approach, the purpose of exams is not to punish students who haven’t learned, but rather to affirm that learning has taken place. This is analogous to a thesis defense–a careful supervisor would never schedule the defense unless he or she was certain the student will pass.