Tutors

Welcome to tutoring in 2013EDN Technologies Education

This course is being taught in a blended and predominantly online mode. We will have between 150 and 200 Second Year Bachelor of Education (Primary) students (although a third are 1st, 3rd and 4th year out of phase students) and a team of five tutors.

You will be assigned a group of up to 30 students to mentor as they engage with the modules for the course. It is expected that you meet online with your students once a week for 30 minutes using the Blackboard Collaborate environment. This environment permits synchronous voice, chat and screen sharing, and the ability for up to 6 participants at a time to speak or stream video (usually yourself). The aim of these sessions is to encourage and challenge students to engage fully with the course modules, assuage concerns, and assist students to meet the expectations of the modules. Plus of course you can pass on your wisdom in teaching and learning.



You will also be assigned modules for which you will guide online discussions and assist students with specific advice on completing the assessments for these modules. We will be using the Australian Curriculum: Technologies to base the structure of student learning, with elaboration and examples provided for each year grouping.

The modules for this course are in two categories:

Design and Technology modules

D&T1    Design and Technology curricula*
D&T2    Design Thinking
D&T3    Design and Technology from F-2
D&T4    Design and Technology from 3-4
D&T5    Design and Technology from 5-6
D&T6    Design and Technology from 7-8
D&T7    Design and Technology from 9-10

Digital Technologies modules

DT1    Digital Technologies Curricula*
DT2    Computational Thinking
DT3    Digital Technologies from F-2
DT4    Digital Technologies from 3-4
DT5    Digital Technologies from 5-6
DT6    Digital Technologies from 7-8
DT7    Digital Technologies from 9-10


Each of you will be responsible for a particular discussion group based on your modules and we will also use your same module for your tutorial group discussions - so you only need to join at minimum two groups, the main discussion group, and the one you are responsible for. Please encourage participation in your discussion group, asking questions, prompting discussion etc. It will be difficult for modules occurring later in the course, but based on the assessment tasks for your module and the Australian Curriculum document, you could suggest project ideas, resources, classroom activities, etc.

    Wednesday
        Thursday

Modules will be released during the first few weeks of the course and you should make yourself familiar generally with them all, but specifically the two compulsory modules D&T1 and DT1, the particular modules your are assigned, and D&T2 and DT2 as many students will complete these. You should also be as familiar as you can with the course assessment but if you are at all unsure, please direct them to myself. It is important that students have a clear and consistent message about assessment.

At least twice during the course you will be asked to participate in a scheduled Google Hangout session that includes discussion on your assigned modules. Hangout sessions usually run for an hour and will include selected students in the discussion panel that you will be asked to select and arrange based on discussion from your module. You will need a Google+ account, webcam and headphone microphone (or ear buds with mike such as from the iPhone) and a quiet environment.

Level 1 and 2 assessments are conducted online and automatically marked or marked by myself (Online Quiz and Online Submission of completed activity) so while you may get some questions regarding these in your module discussions, there is no tutor marking involved. I will check the Item 2 submissions to ensure they meet the minimum requirements for a completion, i.e. they have not just uploaded rubbish, and check that students have not been academically dishonest by checking for duplicate submissions. The first two modules* in each category are required to be completed by all students and I expect most students will complete these first.

Level 3 and 4 assessments will be submitted online for marking by tutors. This will be based on your mentoring group of up to 25 students. So you will have two Level 3 and 1 Level 4 activity submissions to complete as part of your students Summary of Learning portfolio. Tutors are encouraged to seek guidance on marking unfamiliar module topics from the tutors assigned to those modules and we will have private discussion groups for this purpose. It is expected that you spend half an hour per student marking this portfolio (10 minutes per activity), for a total of up to 15 hours in Weeks 10, 11 and 12 for a maximum three week turn around to students. 

We will conduct a moderation process in week 10 in which all tutors will mark six randomly selected portfolios (one from each mentoring group) and from this shared experience, discuss variation in expectations to inform subsequent marking. From Week 12 there will be a cross course moderation with the course being run on the Mt Gravatt campus to ensure consistency of assessment between campus but you will not be involved in this process. All going well (I have never had a problem in any of my courses) you will upload your marks and student feedback to the online spreadsheet on Learning@Griffith. 

The criteria for this assessment is based on a university criteria rubric and will assess:
  • Interpretive and analytic ability in developing design challenges
  • Interpretive and analytic ability in developing programming challenges
  • Intellectual initiative in research, planning and development of resources
  • Intellectual initiative in the articulation and presentation

Assessment for this task needs to be rigorous as most students should have received full marks for the first assessment task, 50% of their final grade. It takes particular effort to fail this course so this assessment task needs to focus on discriminating between students performing at Credit (65%), Distinction (75%) or High Distinction levels (85%). We use two main components of the university criteria for this task, firstly: student ability to analyse (break down to the essential elements) and interpret (explain themselves and their solutions), students must evidence this to be performing at a credit level or above. Secondly: the level of intellectual initiative they demonstrate. It is this that most evidences a student performing at a distinction or high distinction level. While intellectual initiative is more difficult to define by its very nature, it is not simply if a student has put in more effort. It combines elements of creativity and insight into the task that distinguishes the student from their peers. Here we are reliant on the experience of tutors in examining a broad range of student submissions, your experience as teachers and professionals in the field, and your understanding of what is exceptional performance in the profession. Remember however that these are students and only partially through their studies, look for indications of exceptionality to come but do not expect this to be fully matured.

While to a certain extent students need to evidence highly in all three portfolio tasks to score highly, and students are overly focused on such meaningless numbers, you may recommend a higher grade if it is clear that one or more of the tasks clearly demonstrate that a student can perform at a higher level. In particular, Level 4 tasks have been designed to provide students with opportunities to demonstrate at the Distinction and High Distinction levels and particular attention should be given to seeing if this has been done.

Students are expected to be spending a minimum of 5 hours per week studying this course with the following suggested breakdown:

Weeks 1-6        

1 hour per week reading modules
1 hour per week on module activities at Level 1 (including participation in discussion groups)
1 hour per week on module activities at Level 2 (including participation in discussion groups)
30 minutes per week on modules activities at Level 3 & 4 (including participation in discussion groups)
30 minute per week online mentoring group (Blackboard Collaborate)
1 hour per week online presentation (Google Hangout)

Weeks 7-9

3 hours 30 minutes per week on modules activities at Level 3 & 4 (including participation in discussion groups)
30 minute per week online mentoring group (Blackboard Collaborate)
1 hour per week online presentation (Google Hangout)

Where possible you should encourage and check that students are meeting this minimum requirement. One quick check is to note how many Level 1 and 2 activities they have completed each week and encourage them to work progressively rather than leaving assessment until the due week. You can also remind students that if they are aiming to achieve higher grades, it would be expected that they devote additional time. 

Students with valid reasons may request consideration, usually in the form of an extension. Strict criteria apply and students should be directed to the relevant section of the course website where they can find the appropriate detail and forms. While tutors have some flexibility and discretion, any formal requests for consideration must come through the course convenor with appropriate documentary evidence to support consideration.  


Assessment

Level 1 Quizzes and the Level 2 Activities form the students first assessment task - the Log of Learning Activities. This is marked by the course convenor (Dr Jason Zagami) and you do not need to worry about marking this.

From about Week 6, students will be focusing on their Level 3 activities and a Level 4 activity. Student responses to these activities will be distributed between tutors for marking in Weeks 10 to 12. You will receive a list of students to mark their three responses that form their Portfolio of Learning.

To access student responses you go into Learning@Griffith and then under the Marks Centre link on the left, choose "Full Marks Centre" and find the students you have been allocated to assess. You will see green icons with exclamation marks for items requiring marking, hover your mouse over this and select "View Marks Details" and then "Mark Attempt". 

You will see the student submission and attached files, and below this a section for you to enter feedback and a link to the rubric. Do not enter a mark here, but use the rubric to identify which standards statement that best represents the student work for each criteria. Note that you can adjust marks within each criteria with 2-3 more finely grained levels available within each using the dropdown. These selections will then be automatically combined to produce an overall mark when you exit the rubric.

DO NOT provide feedback comments within the rubric page, this is not currently displayed to students. Provide your comments back on the main feedback page after you exit the rubric page.

You can also provide "Marking Notes" that will only be seen by other tutors and the course convenor.

When marking, much will be dependent on your professional judgement. You will generally form an idea of the standard of student work quite quickly but then need to justify this impression through the criteria and feedback you provide to students. There is no problem in this as long as you take into consideration that some students will write/present very well but may not necessarily have understood the concepts involved in great depth or have shown particular insight, likewise some students may write/present very poorly but have demonstrated highly against the criteria. We have one criteria to reward/punish good writing and presentation ability - Articulation and Presentation. Use this for this purpose and look for evidence against the other criteria in student work:

Analytical ability (break down to the essential elements). For example with unit outlines (Level 4 activity) this focuses on integrating assessment activities into their unit outlines, breaking down the curriculum learning outcomes, various assessment approaches and activities, and explaining how these match effectively. 

Interpretive ability (explain themselves and their solutions) to unpack and show understanding of concepts, theories, curriculum documents, online resources, etc. This also includes an engagement with the available ideas and approaches occurring in schools (as presented through online resources). For example with design challenges (Level 3 activity) this focuses on student interpretation of the design process and demonstration of this process.

Intellectual Initiative is where students address the task and then go beyond what is fundamental to the activity to explore and engage with the task in innovative ways. This does not mean they have to do more than what is stated, but at a higher standard. For example with design challenges, student research, planning and development of solutions in innovative and outstanding ways is where students who clearly stand out from their peers can be recognised. That said however, we mark against criteria and not against peers so your professional judgement of what a good design challenge, unit outline etc. is the benchmark you should use.


To ensure that this benchmark is calibrated between tutors, we will moderate in week 10 when you will mark six randomly selected portfolios (one from each mentoring group) and from this shared experience we will develop a consensus on the standards we will be applying.

I do understand that it can be easier when there are specific elements stated within the criteria that you can determine are present or not at each level, but with so many activities and the need to ensure consistency between them, a more general approach has been required. This places greater responsibility on both students and tutors to unpack the activity and in relation to the course material, demonstrate against the general criteria. The advantage to this however is in flexibility of approaches, students can present in a wide variety of ways and as an assessor you can consider a wide variety of elements in making your professional judgement as to the standard students have demonstrated. Explain this judgement briefly in your comments but you do not need to justify your ability to make a professional judgement.

Do not finalise your assessments (Saving) until after the moderation process has been completed  You can "Save as Draft" as you go, but do not "Save" or "Save and Exit" until you get the go ahead.  In Week 12 there will also be a cross course moderation with the course being run on the Mt Gravatt campus to ensure consistency of assessment between campuses.

When marking you need to consider three key aspects in assigning a mark and providing feedback. 

1. Assess using your professional judgement, calibrated from the moderation process, and using examples from their work to justify assessment of criteria in the rubric. Where possible, an example from their work should be used in feedback. Activities do not have many specific items to be completed (i.e. check lists), but generally reflect a complex activity - such as a design challenge, essay, unit outline etc. and part of the task is for students to unpack and demonstrate what is involved in completing such activities. Through the course, general guidance has been provided on ways to address such activities but do not be pedantic over particular aspects, their overall engagement with the activity is the focus of the assessment.

2. Remember that students have a very personal perspective on their marks and the feedback you provide them, positives should be included with clear indications of how their work could be improved.

3. However we also need to take into consideration the expectations of the university, particularly as this will be expressed through University Assessment Boards. While we use a criteria based system in which in theory all students could gain a High Distinction grade if they all achieved at that standard, we are also required to use numerical marks that are analysed differently to how criteria would be analysed, and concern is raised if too many students achieve too highly. I personally think the number of students achieving highly  is an indicator of a successful course and would love it if all students did achieve this, however it is very difficult to justify to Assessment Boards and there is a big danger in pushing too hard without very strong evidence. Assessment Boards can very easily reduce the grades of all students in a course if they feel we have been too generous in marking. While it has never happened to one of my courses, it does regularly occur. This then penalises those students who would have received a high grade when all students have their grades reduced. So we must be responsible in awarding marks, particularly for their Portfolio of Learning assessment when many students will have received close to full marks in their Log of Learning Activities assessment. 






 














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