In reflecting back on CEP 813 and the wealth of information learned, I believe my best post was one that actually wasn’t required for the course, but helped me develop as a learner (and a designer). The post I am referring to dates back to Module 4, the two week period crafting a formative assessment project within Minecraft. During this two week module, we were tasked with creating an initial screencast that displayed some of the challenges faced in using the application initially (week one) and then a screencast on a formative assessment that we had created in Minecraft (end of week two). However, in between these two weeks, I also composed an extra reflection piece in my blog, that allowed me to outline my thoughts on the formative assessment component, demonstrate my ideas on how to incorporate Minecraft with formative assessment, and finally layout a design that would make sense to the students/learners (who would be the target audience for the Minecraft project).
Minecrafty: Drafting for Minecraft Design
In honesty, I believe some of my more recent posts are more thorough and interweave course concepts directly into my reflection; however the reflection above truly defined the course’s foundational concepts of formative assessment. I used the post above to outline my ideas for the project’s topics (online course evaluations), the design approach and how I would display this information (using a bridge concept), and lastly allowed me to grow as a designer by adding a new tool to my repertoire. Meanwhile, I was thinking about the Minecraft application and the allowances/limitations of the tool to craft my design, and advanced my original design to include key areas not outlined in my original draft (student interaction with the bridge and quiz component). With this being said, I believe this post provides an overview of the numerous areas learned in CEP 813 related to formative assessment: focusing on the assessment of student learning, reviewing and revising a tool’s design to meet those students’ needs, and also developing ways that as an instructor you can truly capture and improve student learning through educational technologies (ensuring the technology enhances the learning the experience rather than being used simply for being a “new” technology).
Lastly, the post above was essentially a draft for my final Minecraft reflection that I posted less than a week later (linked below for reference purposes). I believe the final post shows my personal development and demonstrates my own learning within the week related to the Minecraft tool, design in practice and ensuring student understanding could be assessed through my creation. I believe my original outline started with the learning outcomes (the purpose of online course evaluations) and then focused on the bridge design to demonstrate the learning experience. The goal was to follow Wiggins & McTighe’s understanding by design approach, and focus on the desired learning before shaping the curriculum. Once I had identified the five key takeaways for online course evals, I developed the bridge concept with six learning hubs – one outlining how to use the bridge, and the other five covering the key concepts. Lastly, I included a quiz at the end of the bridge to assess student understanding of the OCE bridge. Again, all of these design components came to me as I developed my original draft and then revised the draft the following week. I believe my original outline reflection allowed me to start thinking about the backwards approach to design, and identify the key learning outcomes before jumping into the Minecraft tool and design.
Minecraft Round 2: Assessing Student Understanding of OCEs
Reflecting back on the Minecraft module, I believe the use of games as a form of assessment is truly a brilliant approach, as students are creating projects and crafting ideas in ways that don’t feel like traditional “home/school work”. Minecraft (and other games) allow students to visit an open field for design with no limitations on how they build/draft their own creations. They are not limited to the size of a piece of paper or a page length requirement – instead they have an open canvas to let imagination run free. The tool also allows students to develop communication skills, collaborate with others by working in teams, and also allows students to visually see concepts that the instructor demonstrates. My goal for the mid-week Minecraft post was not to simply add an extra reflection to my portfolio, but to brainstorm on the course concepts that could help me design a formative assessment module to enhance student understanding on online course evaluations within the Minecraft application.