What’s the evidence?

Connectivism and Connected Knowledge is half way through its first week. It’s so interesting to learn about new ways of teaching/learning. An interesting question today on Elluminate: What’s the evidence of the learningprocess when you use a connectivist way of teaching. How can you check if a student has acquired the knowledge you tried to teach?

After reading the first things from the reading list, I think it has something to do with “working with the information”. What I mean is that in a connectivist way you teach by letting your students create a network. These networks form the knowledge/content. They can find a number of websites, blogs, newsfeeds that have something to do with your topic in class. They read about it, share it, talk about it on a forum or in class, etc. Instead of giving them a test in which they would reproduce the content of your lessons, you assign the task of writing/reflecting about the things they have read. Off course, the hard part is to bring all the information together and make a good summary out of it. To do this, the student must think about all the input, all the views on the topic and form his or her own point of view. This creates a higher level of thinking/learning, more so than reproducing the content.

I’m following a course about eLearning and Digital Didactics, but the papers we must write are not graded. They use the “pass-or-fail”-system to “grade” us. Depending on our forum posts/blogposts, we passed or failed that part of the course. No gradations in points or so, just pass or fail. I think this helps a student in working with the course information since there is no reproductive, slavishly following the rules, kind of teaching. You must interact with the information, show that you comprehend it and have a grounded opinion about it.

I hope I’m making sense of this all, sometimes my English is letting me down, since it is not my native language.

Hungry for more!


9 thoughts on “What’s the evidence?

  1. I got an email from my teacher, after I asked him to have a look at our discussion. He concurs with my explanation and added that when they evaluate they don’t set a certain level that we as students must achieve. Instead they look at the evolution we have made during the course. In terms of objectivity, they don’t compare student results, but evaluate every student separately.
    Hope to have provided sufficient information!

  2. Because I’m interested in the difference between learning this way and established forms of education in higher ed, it occurred to me that CCK11 is being assessed and a minority of us on it are probably studying towards a qualification. They are the ones who formally enrolled on the Certificate in Interdisciplinary Studies: Emerging Technologies for Learning at the University of Manitoba’s Continuing Education department. Although I’m timing out when I try to download the course pages, I’m guessing you’d find formal stuff like learning outcomes and assessment criteria there. I’m very curious about what they are and how they are measured, so I’ll be checking back. I find the overlay very interesting and I wonder if it has any effect on strategies and approaches among people taking the course. Employability is a big deal in my institution at the moment too, so I’m wondering how, without a piece of paper with a qualification on it, learners might be able to make a virtue of taking this course to prospective employers – what kinds of evidence ‘count’?

    • I’m very curious also about what they are and how they are measured, so I’ll be checking back. I find the overlay very interesting and I wonder if it has any effect on strategies and approaches among people taking the course.
      I am tracking this comment and will wait for your results.

    • Hi Mira and Jaap. I’m a bit confused here. Probably because my English is letting me down. Do you want to know if I have information about learning outcomes and assessment criteria from Manitoba? Answer: no, because I’m not enrolled there. Or are these questions about the course I’m taking here in Belgium? Answer: I’d have to look into it at my institution. However, I can say this:
      First of all, I am getting “a piece of paper” at the end of the course, but during the course there are no grades, no numbers (or letters) placing you on an evaluation scale (like 74% or B-). The papers I have to write are evaluated in a sense that they check if my findings about something are sound. If I make sense in what I write, if I can show them (through my writing) that I have read multiple sources and used them to create my own point of view, than I “pass” on that paper. If not, I “fail”.
      Second, how does this affect me, as a student. Well, I’m feeling less pressure to “perform”. This does not mean I’m not going to perform at my best, it’s just not stressing me. I find that I’m working hard to make the very best of it, because I’m interested in what the course has to offer. But the grades, on the other hand, are of a lesser concern.
      So to wrap up: I am being evaluated, I’m not getting points or grades for it (either my work is good, or it is bad), in the end I’m (hoping) to receive a certificate stating I succeeded in the course.
      Hoping this all makes sense. If not, please reply, I really want to be clear about everything I write.

  3. I didn’t attend session Elluminate. I discovered your post through the reference of John Mak.
    I’m not native speakers of English, I speak Italian language and my Engligh is poor.
    I say thank you because reading your thoughts I have clarified some ideas

  4. Compliments, your English is good.
    As I am not a teacher I dont care about assessment of what a student did learn, but your pass-or-fail system seems to be a key to assessment in connectivist education.
    Being able to use what one did learn seems to me the mark of mastering of skills and knowledge
    regards Jaap

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