Tamara Pandolfo, North Carolina State University
Student assessment of assignments redesigned to support mastery of and personal connections with course content indicates differences in intended design and perceived benefits in some cases.
Course assignments in a graduate-level distance education STEM course were redesigned to target inclusive teaching strategies. A survey was used to assess student perspectives on class assignments. Each assignment was rated on how helpful the assignment was in attaining mastery of content and how effective the assignment was in establishing personal or enjoyable connections to course content. Discussion forums scored significantly lower on both content mastery and connection compared with worksheets and H5P interactive activities. Student and instructor perspectives differed for H5P interactive activities. Students rated these assignments higher on content mastery than connection, contrary to the instructor’s design intention.
Student Perspective, Assignment Redesign, Online Learning
1. Differentiate between student and instructor perceptions of course assignments.
2. Analyze the intended benefits of assignments in their own courses.
3. Identify assignments in their own courses which may benefit from a redesign.
Hear it from the author:
Assignments in a graduate-level distance education STEM course were redesigned to target inclusive teaching strategies, with a focus on incorporating a variety of assignment types to appeal to a range of learners and encouraging student connections to course material. The course previously relied heavily on discussion forums, but the redesign also incorporated H5P Interactive activities and Worksheets. Discussion forums and H5P activities were designed to target students’ ability to make personal or enjoyable connections with course content, whereas worksheets were designed to target the mastery of important course concepts. At the end of the semester, students were given a survey where they rated each of 12 course assignments according to how effective they were in creating personal connections and how helpful they were in the understanding of course content. H5P Interactive activities received the highest ratings of all assignment types for both content mastery and personal connections. Although H5P activities were originally designed to create enjoyable connections for students, survey responses were more favorable for content mastery. This discrepancy stresses the importance of eliciting student feedback when changes are made to a course.
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