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Assessing Learning in Web-enhanced/Online Courses

"I just couldn't imagine how much I learned in this on-line course until I looked at my weekly journal entries and saw what I had written. I seemed so confused at first. I see how much I've really learned. I really see the value of portfolios." Earth System Science Education Alliance On-line Course participant
Because Web-enhanced courses and On-line courses are text based they are natural vehicles for the use of portfolios as an assessment tool. Portfolios can be used for displaying student content knowledge and as a way to make student thinking visible to all (including themselves). Learning on the internet isn't as simple as posting a syllabus on the web, asking students to read textbook chapters and then asking them to submit papers for evaluation. The internet is impersonal and without the visual cues students get from face-to-face classroom experiences it is easy to feel threatened or to appear threatening. The Ohio Learning Network website has modules that include encouraging contact between students and faculty, the use of active learning techniques and the necessity of providing prompt feedback. Each module includes information on:

A Geoscience Assessment Using Portfolios

The Earth System Science Education Alliance and the Center for Educational Technologies have developed on-line Earth Systems science courses for K-4 teachers, Middle school teachers and High school teachers. The Middle School Teachers On-line Course was built using cooperative learning techniques and real-world events modules as vehicles for teachers to build their own Earth Systems science content understandings and to model the pedagogy. The development of each week's products within the course are guided and scored by rubrics. The entire course can be navigated from this page by using the navigation bar. ESSEA course participants are asked to use the rubrics to guide the development of group reports and to develop narrative entries for their own learning, The web-based weekly entries are essential to developing reflective thinking about the teachers own learning and documenting cognitive growth and confidence in learning the material.


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