Since grades are almost entirely determined through final exams or papers, class participation can be an important way to assess learning throughout the semester. Listed below are tools for tracking student responses and evaluating student learning.
Tracking student responses with the Seating Chart tool
Berkeley Law's Seating Chart tool is a great way to learn student names, but it also has a feature that lets you keep track of student responses. By clicking on the icons of students in the seating chart, you can specify the question you asked and how that student responded. Throughout the semester these responses are tracked so you can quickly view the quantity and quality of answers from students.
In-class polling: iClickers and student response tools
Clickers are widely used in academia and allow faculty to quickly gauge student understanding. Each student has a clicker unit, which looks like a simple remote control with buttons for A, B, C, or D. Faculty can ask multiple choice questions. When students press their answer, the software sends the class distribution of answers to a display on the computer screen.
Polling can also be accomplished without a clicker through web-based polling tools. Online polling tools like Poll Everywhere allow faculty to display questions and collect responses, and students to respond using a website, text message, or mobile app. Students can also give short text responses to questions and the service is free for up to 30 responses.
Since clickers are generally used anonymously, students can be honest about what they know or might need more help with. Faculty can get a sense of how well the entire class is learning the material, and students can get a sense of where they fall in relation to their peers. Clickers can also improve class participation because they are great at starting class discussions. Polling tools are also great at evaluating your own teaching style and methods. By understanding how students are learning and what they might be struggling with, you can improve your teaching materials and style. Polling students can also help you to tailor your teaching topics for that specific group of students, since each class will have different topics of interest and/or need extra time on certain material.
Quizzes and polls can also be posted in bCourses, allowing students to respond outside of class.
To reserve Clickers for your class email Media Services at, firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Poll Everywhere visit, www.polleverywhere.com.
Student journals as assessment tools: Blogs
Blogs provide a great way to track student responses online. Each student can be given a blog to write about class topics, readings or lectures. It gives students that may not talk in class a great way to share their thoughts with you online. Students that do speak often in class will be able to think through the reading materials and write a response to them before they go to class, so they have a refined point of view. By the end of the semester, you can easily track the learning of your students, since all of their writing will be in one location. While some faculty might dislike that blogs are public, it discourages students from writing in a casual voice. It also allows students to easily read each others work.