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Assignments for the 2007 Online Workshop Designing Effective and Innovative Courses in the Geosciences


Assignments are listed below in reverse chronological order, with the most recent assignment at the top. I will post workshop assignments as we get to them.

Online Course Design Tutorial :: Email List Archive :: Discussion Forum :: Online Workshop Home

Assignment #9 (final assignment): due by 5 pm your local time on Friday, August 4

  • Go to the Cutting Edge Goals/Syllabus data base submission form, and submit your course information plus the goals that you have developed for your course. In the fall, when you have your syllabus done, I will send instructions for how to modify your initial submission to include your syllabus and any changes you have made in goals.
  • I will also email you a workshop evaluation form. Please fill it out and submit it when you are done. Thanks!

Assignment #8: due by 12 pm your local time on Friday, August 4

  • Read through the feedback offered by participants and facilitators on your activities ideas.
  • Go to the Assignments/activities discussion forum. Create a new thread with the subject "Your Name: Draft activity", and write a brief description of your plan for the assignment(s) or activity(ies) and how it fits into your course. Please choose something new, an idea that was catalyzed by this workshop, rather than describing something that you already do. If you would like feedback on anything in particular, please let us know.
  • While you are working on this, I will continue to comment on your previous postings, including course plan! Please feel free to continue to read other people's postings and offer your comments as well.

Assignment #7: due by 5 pm your local time on Thursday, August 3

  • Read through the feedback offered by participants and facilitators on your course content and activities ideas.
  • Go to Part 2.1: Developing a Course Plan in the Context of Goals and Content Topics, download the worksheet, and complete task 2.1 in the tutorial. You may work either with your whole course or with a portion of your course.
  • Go to the Discussion Forum: Developing a Course Plan. Create a new thread with the subject "Your Name: Course Plan". In this thread, enter the usual boiler plate (or just copy it from your previous thread) plus the specified aspects of Task 2.1:
    • Your course title
    • Your name and institution
    • Number of students in the course
    • Course level (e.g., intro, required course for majors, upper level course)
    • Prerequisites, if any, and whether your course serves as a prerequisite for other courses.
    • An aspect of Task 2.1 that you would like feedback on.
    • If you would like to upload your worksheet so that the one of us can look at all of the work you have done on this assignment and provide more detailed feedback, click on "Include a file with this post" on the discussion page.


Assignment #6: due by 12 pm your local time on Thursday, August 2

  • Participants have made postings to the Course Content, Activities, and General Discussion Topics Forums. Go to each of these discussions, read through what people have posted, and provide feedback. If questions come up that would make the basis for good new threads, go to the General Discussion Topics Forum and start a new thread.
  • Please be generous and take time to read other people's postings and provide feedback! Not only will you find it valuable to read feedback on other people's ideas, but the feedback that people provide will be very helpful as you develop your course plan for assignment #7.

Assignment #5: due by 5 pm your local time on Wednesday, August 1

  • While I am commenting on your revised overarching goals and first stab at course content, your assignment will be to explore teaching and assessment strategies.
    • For teaching strategies, go to Part 2.2: Exploring Teaching Strategies.
    • For ideas related to specific courses, try the topical resource collections at our Cutting Edge web site. Clicking one of the Geoscience Topics will bring up a collection of searchable and browsable resources and activities/assignments for undergraduate courses in that topic.
    • You can also find good ideas for teaching strategies at the Starting Point web site.
    • For assessment strategies, go to the assessment section in the tutorial, or to the Cutting Edge assessment of learning section.
  • Work through these resource sites to find ideas that appeal to you or ways to modify strategies that you already use in the classroom. You do not need to complete assignment 2.2b in Exploring Teaching Strategies, because you have not yet written a draft of a course plan.
  • Go to the Activities discussion forum. Create a new thread with the subject "Your Name: Teaching ideas", and comment on which of the teaching and assessment strategies you might try to incorporate into your course. If you have specific questions about how to implement a strategy, include your query, and people who've used the technique can offer advice.

Assignment #4: due by 1 pm your local time on Wednesday, August 1

  • Make any revisions that you need to in the overarching goals for your course as a result of reading comments posted on your thread or others' threads since you posted Assignment #3 on Tuesday.
  • Go to Part 1.3: Setting Ancillary Skills Goals, download the worksheet, and complete task 1.3 in the tutorial.
  • Go to Part 1.4: Choosing Content to Achieve Overarching Goals, download the worksheet, and complete task 1.4 in the tutorial.
    • Choosing content to achieve overarching goals is a major challenge, because you will need to keep the goals fully in mind as you think about content so that you connect the broad content topics to the overarching goals throughout the course (and not just at the end!!). One way to check whether that connection is there is to keep asking yourself, for each of the content topics, how students will receive practice in the goal(s) in the context of that content topic.
    • If you find yourself making a list of broad content topics but can't see a clear way to help students make progress toward the goals in the context of a particular topic, back up, shake your own tree, and try a different direction.
  • Go to the Discussion Forum: Choosing Content to Achieve Overarching Goals. Create a new thread with the subject "Your Name: Content Goals". In this thread, enter the following (or just copy it from your previous thread):
    • Your course title
    • Your name and institution
    • Number of students in the course
    • Course level (e.g., intro, required course for majors, upper level course)
    • Prerequisites, if any, and whether your course serves as a prerequisite for other courses.
    • What you have written for Task 1.4 in the tutorial, starting with your revised overarching goals.

Assignment #3: due by 3 pm EDT on Tuesday, July 31

  • Go to the Discussion Forum: Setting Overarching Goals.
  • Read the initial draft of overarching goals set by each of the participants for their courses, and read Barb's comments plus any posted by the other participants.
  • In a post that you add to your own goals thread, answer the following:
    • What insights have you gained about setting overarching goals from reading the other participants' goals and the facilitator comments?
    • What revisions would you make in your initial statement of overarching goals for your own course?
    • Please also feel free to comment on goals that other participants have posted!!
    • If you would like some "tree-shaking", send an email to Barb Tewksbury to initiate an e-mail conversation about goals or to set up a phone consultation.

Assignment #2: due by 7 pm EDT on Monday, July 30

  • Responding to postings on general topics:
  • Getting feedback on initial goals posting:
    • The workshop leader (Barb Tewksbury, from Hamilton College) will be responding to your initial goals posting and will have responses up by tomorrow morning at the latest.
    • You can check back for my comments and can post replies to me as soon as I have commented, if you wish!

Assignment #1: due by 2 pm EDT on Monday, July 30

  • As indicated in the online workshop introduction, we will be using the Cutting Edge Online Course Design Tutorial for this workshop. Please start by reading the Tutorial Introduction and the Tutorial Overview
  • Go to Part 1.1: Articulating Course Context and Constraints, download the worksheet, and complete tasks 1.1a, 1.1b, and 1.1c in the tutorial. Record your answers on the worksheet, and save the worksheet. You will not post this assignment, but you will need it for the remainder of this assignment.
  • Go to Part 1.2: Setting Overarching Goals, download the worksheet, and complete tasks 1.2a, 1.2b, and 1.2c in the tutorial.
  • You will make two posts to the discussion forum.
    • Post #1: Go to the discussion forum, and create a new thread with the subject "Your Name: Goals 1". In this thread, enter the following:
      • Your course title
      • Your name
      • Your institution
      • Number of students in the course
      • Course level (e.g., intro, required course for majors, upper level course)
      • Prerequisites, if any
      • Whether your course serves as a prerequisite for other courses and, if so, which ones.
      • Any other context or constraint information that you would like us to know about so that we can provide better feedback to you on your overarching goals.
      • the first draft of the overarching goals from Task 1.2c. Please paste these into your post. Do not send them as an attachment
    • Post #2: Choose a topic or question related to course design, teaching strategies, challenges, or course context/constraints that you would like to see discussed on the forum. Browse the topics already posted, and be sure to post a topic that does not have an existing thread. Be sure that your topic line is short but makes it clear what the topic of the thread is.

Comments or suggestions

If something is not working for you, or if you have a suggestion for how to make the on-line workshop function better, please send an e-mail to Barb Tewksbury.


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