Evaluation or Assessment?

cartoon definitions

Is this your definition of the terms?

Evaluation or Assessment? This was a discussion we had in my undergrad education courses. We also had it in my graduate courses. I ran workshops for college faculty discussion the differences and the hows and whys of using both things. My wife taught a graduate course on program assessment and she will tell you that the two terms are very different.

If you were told that your course or your teaching was going to be assessed this semester, or if you were told that it would be evaluated, would you consider that to mean essentially the same thing?

They are not easy things to define succinctly. Assessment is the systematic process of documenting and using empirical data to measure knowledge, skills, attitudes, and beliefs. The assessment of students or teachers is meant to improve them, not judge, grade or evaluate them.

In education, student evaluation most often focuses on grades. For instructors, an evaluation can be used as a final review to gauge the quality of instruction. It is product-oriented. It is judgmental.

I know that in my time teaching in secondary school and my time teaching in higher education, the way teachers are trained and the ways teachers are evaluated are quite different. Evaluation always occurs. Assessment may not always occur or be seen as equally important.

This discussion also recently appeared online and the kinds of questions being asked are: Is the number of times you talk in class a fair measure of evaluation? If yes, how do we address quiet but observant students? Should you have students do self-assessments and should those be part of the instructor evaluations?

We have been having these discussions for a long time. They are good discussions. Keep at it.

feedback, satisfaction, employee, survey, customer, poll, recommend, team, performance, good, smiley, concept, evaluation, opinion, business, select, happy, work, smile, quality, career, green, test, advertising, assessment, choose, compliance, evaluate, hand, human, laugh, management, marketing, network, online, optionally, people, positive, recession, recommendation, recruitment, resources, service, social, symbol, tuning, vote, text, cartoon, font, grass, line, finger, design, technology, product, communication, graphic design, illustration, material, human behavior, angle, brand, graphics, computer wallpaper, clip art, Free Images In PxHere

Tech-Enhanced Learning and Mobile Natives

I consult with Eastern International College on topics around online learning. They use the LMS Canvas from Instructure for online courses and only started using it more widely about 3 years ago. It's a for-profit college that offers degrees and certifications in health and medical fields. That is a population of faculty and students who have always been reluctant to go online. These are very hands-on, in-a-lab classes primarily. But the move proved to be somewhat lifesaving when the Covid pandemic hit schools in the 2020 semester.

Instructure sent me some resources to think about for the fall semester and one was strategies for "Tech-Enhanced Learning." I will date myself by saying I recall when we were attaching the term "web-enhanced" to courses and strategies. I also remember very clearly when the term "digital natives" was used to describe the students we were meeting in our classrooms.

Thomas Husson had blogged some time ago about mobile natives from a marketing perspective. He notes that the first iPhone was released in 2007 and, on average, a kid gets their first cell phone around 11 years old. That means the first entire generation that mobile has impacted will enter the workforce about 2025 - but they are already in schools grades kindergarten through higher education. 

kids on phones in class
     Photo: Rodnae Productions

Technology-enhanced (or sometimes "infused")  learning is essential to best learning practices and also to keeping learning relevant. It surely will play a role - as it has already and not always in a positive way - in the survival of higher education institutions. Instructional technology is important to student engagement. The correct approach is not to digitize what is already being used. That's closer to what we called "web-enhanced" when we were starting to put materials online. 

How do you use technology to transform pedagogy to be more engaging, innovative, and inclusive?  here are their suggested strategies.

Though the pandemic forced coursework online out of necessity, digital learning should now be the default. All courses should be designed so that they could be taught online, even if the intent is to teach them in a classroom. When course content is and communication is available online students can access it anywhere and at any time.

As noted above, courses should also be optimized courses for mobile access since mobile phones are the primary tool used by many students and student income levels are no longer the deciding factor for that use. How many of your students have a desktop computer or even a laptop?

Engagement includes interactive experiences between faculty and students, and also connecting students with one another. This is also something that goes across face-to-face, hybrid and fully remote courses.

It is important that this shift goes beyond your classes. A "digital campus" means things beyond coursework. Virtual tutoring, office hours, counseling, tech support, and library access is especially critical for off-campus students to have that on-campus connection. And even residential students will often prefer digital over face-to-face. Mental health resources for psychological well-being are a leading factor for student success and schools can leverage technology to expand access to mental health resources including virtual counseling, staff mental health training, and student mental health apps.

HyFlex learning environments got a lot more attention during the pandemic. This approach is student-centered and offers equitable access to content. Students should be able to move between modalities based on their learning needs and the location - pandemic or not.

For a long time, educators have been told what to expect from Millennials. We have moved on to Generation Z which is usually defined as those 4 to 24 years old - which covers pre-school to graduate school. They are a group that has always had access to the Internet - as did many Millennials - but Gen Z also has mobile devices as their primary way of communicating and getting information in and out of classes.

I added this post to my category "Education 2.0" which for me meant where education was moving. I have seen articles about "Education 3.0" but I stick with version 2 because I haven't seen the really big seismic shift in education yet.

Some futurists say that by the end of this decade workers who still go to a workplace outside their home will walk in, plug their device into the network ( Is say "plug" but it will probably be wireless), connect to a bigger screen(s) and start working. Shifting to mobile is not in its early stage. There are 7 billion mobile subscriptions now. That's not everyone and not every student, but a report from Forrester Research said that mobile phone penetration is at 91 percent of Generation Y homes. (80 percent for all households across North America.) 79 present 13-20-year-olds say in surveys that they can't live without their smartphones compared to 70 percent of 21-39-year-olds.

 

SOURCES
instructure.com/higher-education/back-to-school/faculty

blogs.forrester.com/thomas_husson/14-12-02-mobile_and_mobile_natives...

linkedin.com/pulse/mobile-natives-eric-isham/

ypulse.com/article/2022/03/29/3-stats-on-how-gen-z-is-being-raised-on-smartphones/

marketingdive.com/ex/mobilemarketer/cms/news/research/1576.html

 

Remote Learning Is Not Necessarily Online Learning

remote learnersThe COVID-19 pandemic forced schools and corporate trainers to move their content online. Teaching and training went remote. But are remote and online learning the same thing? I see the terms used almost interchangeably.

Remote teaching, training, or learning has been done before there was an Internet to get online. Correspondence models and instructional TV/video predate the Internet. Today, we are using Skype and Zoom lectures, apps and tools but remote learning is still considered different from online learning.

I have taken classes and done training remotely that don't have many of the elements of a classroom experience. Things like reading assignments and writing assignments, assessments, collaboration on work, or full discussion boards are not used. For example, I have watched a series of history lectures that were mostly one-way experiences. I watched and although there was an opportunity to ask questions in chat or a Q&A time if you were watching live, this is not online learning.

Online learning should be more robust. It resembles more of what we consider to be "education" and would include interactive modules, assessments based on real-world scenarios, discussion forums designed to discuss and solve problems, synchronous learning sessions that involve discussions and problem-solving. There may still be live or recorded lectures, but that is not the only component.

Remote learning certainly has a place, especially in corporate and training situations. This can be pre-recorded content that can be used as needed, has a shelf life, and can be viewed again by users if necessary. Training on using software is a good example of content that works as remote learning. "But it's all online," you might say, "Why isn't it online learning?" Well, it is and it isn't.

Educators have long been trying to elevate engagement in online learning. It is not training. It requires a teacher or facilitator. Some elements are synchronous. Progress is monitored.

I hedged on my title for this post - "Remote Learning Is Not Necessarily Online Learning" - because fortunately, some training uses the elements that we consider to be integral to online learning. And, unfortunately, some online learning seems to be more like just remote training. And training and education have both been experimenting with hybrid models where learners and instructors can be in the same classroom working together but be extending the classroom online.

Remote learning is not inferior to online learning. It has its place in the broader "learning" experience. Remote learners sitting on their couch at home with a laptop may look the same as students taking an online course, but what is being provided to them, what they are expected to do with that content and what is the final expectations for that learning should be different. Putting a label on learning platforms is tricky, but it is important to know the differences.