worksheet for students: am i insane?

thumbnail image of the worksheetI’ve been so impressed by the utvidet arbeidsplan (“expanded work plans”) my daughter’s been bringing home from school after the latest reform of schools in Norway that I’ve tried to make one for my students. The idea is to give them a very clear overview of what they’re supposed to be learning and how to go about learning it. But it may well be ridiculous – will you please have a look and see what you think?

One advantage for me is that having estimated times for the various tasks I can actually see that what I expect them to do outside of class is entirely consistent with the amount of time they’re supposed to be spending on studying. My daughter’s fifth grade worksheet doesn’t show time estimates, I got that from the European Tuning project, which I heard about when I (as head of department) was asked to report on how our department calculates student workload and would the Tuning system be useful. The idea of this part of the Tuning project is to standardise student workloads per credit so it’s easier to transfer credits from one country to another and know that they’re equivalent. This PDF has detailed examples of how to do this when planning a specific course. I’m not sure whether students are ever supposed to see those planning documents, though.

Anyway, according to Tuning, a 15 credit course (in the ECTS – European Credit Transfer System, which we now use) should involve 375 hours of work for each student. That’s actually 19.5 hours a week for the 18 weeks between the first class and the portfolio being due. I’ve only reached 17 hours, but there’s plenty of opportunity for spending more time on things.

Now I really need some feedback though: If I give my students this work sheet will they laugh at me for giving them something based on what a fifth-grader is given? I mean, it’s way too detailed. But my impression is that students don’t do work outside of the classroom because they don’t really know what they’re expected to do. (Is that true?)

I think I’ll try it out next week, and we’ll see whether I keep doing it. And I’m not sure yet whether this is extra work for me or whether it will help make teaching easier for me. And am I sewing cushions under arms? Quite probably adults should be organising their own studies? Although you know, I’m not going to have their parents sign it as my daughter has me do, and I’m not going to check up on them – and I’ll encourage them to change the tasks if they feel others would be more useful to them in reaching their learning goals. Sorry, learning outcomes. For some reason, the EU standard is learning outcomes, not learning goals. I have no idea why.

24. January 2007 by Jill
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