In the United States, up to 40% of all the food that we produce is lost to waste of one form or another. Similarly, up to 30% of all the medical procedures in the U.S. are also wasted. I contend that we waste as much as half of all our teaching opportunities in a typical college course. In this paper, I will explain what I mean by “pedagogical waste” and provide examples of ways to identify, cultivate, and utilize the teaching opportunities in the classroom.
The Key to Assessment
Over the past thirty years, a great deal of effort has been put into the assessment of student learning in higher education. Yet very little progress has been made to date. I believe that part of the problems lies in people modeling the process in unproductive ways. The way that we visualize processes can actually impact the effectiveness of those processes. In this paper, I will outline a new way of viewing the assessment process and explain why I think that it could lead to more productive outcomes if implemented.
I have written a computer program that I call “Computer-Assisted Formative Evaluations” (or CAFE for short). Cute, right? This program analyzes student responses on my midterm and final examinations and provides individualized feedback to each student via email. In this paper, I will share the code and describe the program and its output. I will also highlight the impact that this feedback has had on student performance in Microbiology courses over the past six years.
Engaging Faculty in Assessment Analysis and Reporting
Faculty that teach without assessing their students are just shooting in the dark. People that attempt to assess students without involving the faculty will never get truly valid measures. The key to good assessment is to involve the faculty at two key junctures: the collection of valid data and the interpretation of the results. In this paper, I will describe a concrete plan to facilitate both of these processes. Even better, I will show how this can be done for free online with very little technological support.