Talk:Developing Student Skills for the Constructivist Classroom

Revision as of 14:21, 2 May 2009 by Jianwei Zhang (talk | contribs) (→‎Feedback on your course -- ~~~~: new section)
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-- Jwkozel 13:45, 25 April 2009 (EDT)

You have obviously put in a great deal of time on this project and it shows! The graphics are great and the content is thorough and thoughtful! However I feel a tad overwhelmed just looking at the TOC. This is just a thought, but you might want to consider breaking this up into several different wiki-pages that link back to one another. This way the user will not get lost in the mix.

As I went through your first unit I thought to myself, “Wow. She has really gone for it! Well done!” Your enthusiasm shows, so good work! One thing I did notice about the structure was that the heading could be somewhat confusing from time to time, specifically when you have Lesson 1 and Lesson 2 in two different places. There is the issue of spacing as well. Often the pictures run into to the words below. There is the option to just add some more space to give the user less eye stress as they read. The option mentioned above (different pages) helps to alleviate this type of problem.

I have mostly aesthetic critiques, because I thought that your content was very good. I feel you are onto something great! One thing I would mention is that the first unit appears to be very teacher-centered. In a mini-course focusing on student centered classrooms you may want to throw in something that forces the ball into the students’ court, so to speak. One way of doing this might be to ask students to group together and develop an impromptu ‘student-centered’ lesson. Ask them to create what they believe to be the quintessential example of what is student-centered learning. Following a test-teach-test method you could critique these lessons together while honing exactly what you would like the students to take from your mini-course. Following the 'teach' portion of this path you could regroup the students and have them make another lesson that exhibits what was covered through your 'teaching' (activities, clarification sessions, etc.).

I am not trying to muscle in on you, so don’t worry! I just don’t like to make critiques without giving examples. This way I don’t feel like I am taking anything away from your wonderful project. Good luck and well done so far!

Peer Review -- Stephanie Ames 01:02, 26 April 2009 (EDT)

I was formulating all of the comments I was going to write in my head, and see that most of them have already been said! You certainly have put a lot of thought and work into this. Looking at primarily unit 1, it seems that you have two courses occurring simultaneously. One for teachers, and one for students. Is it your expectation that students will be going on the wiki, or is this course for teachers and you can include the units for the students as a file for reference? This might help address the "busy-ness" and confusion of layout on the page, as was previously noted. Content-wise, looks great. I like that the objectives are clear and restated throughout. I also appreciate the use of reflections, on part of students and teachers, as self-reflections is one of the most important, albeit basic, forms of assessment. Your use of questioning and displaying pictures is a great way to engage the learner!

Also...on the main page, you might consider having the link to your units bigger or something. You have so much information on the page that my eye immediately scrolled down to it and I missed the link. (Or....I could be the only one with this problem!)

Feedback on your course -- Jianwei Zhang 14:21, 2 May 2009 (EDT)

Wow! What a great mini-course! Thoughtful feedback from peers too!

Through you careful and thoughtful design, you have avoided the common problems I highlighted for this design project: Your course is engaging and interactive, and your pages are nicely laid out and organized! Here are a few issues you may work on in further to make your mini-course even better.

(a) You have designed a set of activities for each lesson, so that the participants/learners will be able to learn by engaging in and reflecting on these activities. A challenge however is to make these activities more idea-centered, helping the learners know what the deep contents are and why they are doing an activity, and reflect on what they've done and learned. I can see that you have made efforts along this line, but you can make the idea-centeredness more explicit. For example, your unit 1 for students may begin with "big ideas" of doing research: what research means? What are its goals? What are the components of it (to do good research)? This overview will help students build essential understanding and provide them with an advanced organizer of all the lessons. You may think of putting the component steps/skills in a graphic.

(b) Each time you ask the learner to visit an external video/webpage, you may put a note there like "this will link to an external/different resource. After viewing it, please use the "Go Back" button of your browser to come back to this course."

(c) It is great that you've designed a whole set of worksheets for the learners. To ease their access, you may setup an index page where the learners can see them all, with each worksheet assigned a #, which will be referred to uniformly in your course.

(d) your last lesson should include a link so the learner can go back to your front page.

Again, excellent work!