Collaborative Assessment

Last night, we focused on the role of “assessment” in learning in our GRAD-602 class.  We had a good discussion around formative and summative assessment, and potential digital tools that could be used formatively or summatively for assessment.


What we did not discuss was the concept of collaboration in assessment.  So this morning, Joyce Kincannon, Laura Gogia and I took a stab at that.  Give a listen…and use the comments to join the conversation!

{Graphic: ISS Productivity}

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Creating Community as a Resource

Last night in our GRAD-602 class, we explored the question of how important is it to our “teaching” that we understand something about how people “learn”.  Jeff Nugent led this class and had students at their tables first develop their beliefs about learning, and then mapped them on our wall:


As Enoch Hale, Jeff and I debriefed the class this morning, we realized that our podcast today might be an opportunity to make explicit some of the underlying aspects of GRAD-602.  Our design hopes to help perspective faculty first develop a self identity as a teacher, surface their beliefs and begin to critically question them, and equally important, recognize that our use of discourse is beginning to build a practice of seeing each other as a resource within a community of practice.

Our students are, I think, typical of new faculty – they want McKeachie’s Teaching Tips or the one page handout of best practices.  What they have not yet begun to see is that teaching is a lifelong journey, and our fellow colleagues are some of our best resources.  Our practice of weekly debriefs of our class gives us an opportunity to think metacognitively about our teaching, which translates into concrete actions to take in future classes.

So … an interesting discussion this morning.  Give a listen, and use the comment feature to add to the conversation!


Perspectives on Teaching


This morning, Jeffrey Nugent, Laura Gogia and I met to debrief last night’s GRAD-602 class, and decided to discuss our perspectives on teaching as a podcast.  Last night in class, our students had shared their results in taking the Teaching Perspective Inventory, and the three of us had conducted that activity as well. The dominant perspective in our room was Apprenticeship (11), followed by Developmental and Nurturing (6 each), Transmission (4), with none in the perspective of Social Reform.  Our students also shared traits of teachers who had made a difference in their lives, and this surfaced some tensions between the desire for humanistic ideals and the realities of institutional pressures.

With that as a backdrop, we each noted in this podcast a teacher in the past who had an impact on our lives, and then explored further how our perspectives can serve as a lens for articulating our philosophy of teaching and learning.

Have a listen…


By the way, my own TPI results had Nurturing as the dominant perspective, with Transmission and Social Reform as recessive.


On the Teaching Perspectives Inventory website, my dominant perspective is interpreted as follows:

“Effective teaching assumes that long-term, hard, persistent effort to achieve comes from the heart, not the head.

People become motivated and productive learners when they are working on issues or problems without fear of failure. Learners are nurtured in knowing that (a) they can succeed at learning if they give it a good try; (b) their achievement is a product of their own effort and ability, rather than the benevolence of a teacher; and (c) their learning efforts will be supported by both teacher and peers. Good teachers care about their students and understand that some have histories of failure resulting in lowered self-confidence. However they make no excuses for learners. Rather, they encourage their efforts while challenging students to do their very best by promoting a climate of caring and trust, helping people set challenging but achievable goals, and supporting effort as well as achievement. Good teachers provide encouragement and support, along with clear expectations and reasonable goals for all learners but do not sacrifice self-efficacy or self-esteem for achievement. Their assessments of learning consider individual growth as well as absolute achievement.”

I plan to update my “Philosophy of Teaching” this semester as this course unfolds, and this exercise has given me some fodder to chew on.  Through what perspective(s) do you view teaching?

A Conversation about Blogging

This spring, I am fortunate to be once again co-teaching GRAD-602 with Jeffrey Nugent.  We are joined this year by our CTE Graduate Fellow, Laura Gogia.  As we have done in the past, we will have our GRAD-602 students reflecting on the class using individual blogs.

Jeff, Laura and I sat down Friday morning to discuss blogging as a genre.  As Seth Godin noted in his discussion with Tom Peters back in 2009, blogging is so much more than a web publishing platform.  Jeff, Laura and I discussed three ideas:  (1) writing in a hypertexted media,  (2) the ability to add images and videos to text, and (3) the art of commenting.

Have a listen, and let me know through comments how this did or did not resonate with you…

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A Conversation on Learner Autonomy and Compliance

Sat down with Jeff Nugent and David McLeod, my co-teachers for GRAD-602, to discuss the tension between learner autonomy and learner compliance.  This is planned to be the first in a series of podcasts we three will do for this course.  Good discussion around power, roles, self-directedness, and learning-centered students.

Note: The Skeptical Goat made an appearance….

CTE Teaching and Learning Podcast – Making the Transition to Online Teaching

Last December, I had the opportunity to participate in a podcast in the VCU Center for Teaching Excellence‘s Teaching and Learning podcast series with Dr. Lynda Gillespie, Director of Technology for Chesterfield County Public Schools and adjunct professor for the VCU School of Education.  The original podcast was posted here, but I thought I should co-post it here in this blog.  Lynda and I co-taught an online graduate course called “Educational Technology for School Leaders” this past Fall semester, and in this podcast, we reflect on that experience. This was a course that I had previously developed and taught online, while Lynda was new to the online teaching experience. In the course of the conversation we explored online teaching and learning, the virtual mentoring process, and the lessons learned from 15 weeks of interaction with students online.

You can listen to or download the episode below:

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