Friday, February 19, 2016

Lots of little changes to classes this week.

I've been making little tweaks to my classes based on student performance and responses. All of these actions are being taken on qualitative data, not quantitative data, which isn't a bad thing, but something I want to move away from. I would like to develop some metrics over spring break to put into place next term that would help me make these decisions based on data. Percentage of available homework in the online system (WAMAP) that is complete, number of zero quizzes, and other metrics would help in making data-driven decisions.

My tweaks this week:

  • In Calculus I students were to complete the homework on the related rates section on Tuesday. Most did not. This was not completely surprising, the topic is a physical application, and the setup of each question can take a while. Additionally this homework took quite a bit more time than others, so even if they budgeted for it, they may not have budgeted appropriately. I gave them an additional six days, to Monday at 11:59 PM, the day of our next exam. 
  • Also in Calculus I we are currently talking about graphing functions, using information about the first derivative and second derivative. This is a difficult section because it includes conceptual knowledge about these derivatives, and quite a bit of computation. For today's quiz in the morning class I divided students into two groups. One group would work on graphing one function, the other group, another function. For the first five minutes students were to work on it themselves. Next five minutes students were to work with a partner. Last five minutes students were to working with all the students who had the same function. Each group would have one person present the question. After trying it out, only one group presented, and I finished the other question. To let them using the quiz as a study aide, I allowed them to take it home, but to get credit they would have to email me a hand-drawn graph of the function I presented. 
  • In College Algebra I did not have a pre-made quiz to start the day so I had students take out a sheet of paper, write one of the questions we have been talking about, give it to another student, and have them solve the question. Overall it was a fun activity, albeit a little broccoli covered in cheese. At the end I talked about how I like them making these questions, 
What change in course structure, grading, or presentation did you make on the fly that worked well? That didn't work so well? Feel free to share below. 

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