My students are submitting their redesigned blogs for assessment this Friday. Here’s the PDF of their assignment, with grade descriptions. Were I assessing my own blog design, I’d give it a C: “Mostly works, but the code could have been planned and organised better. A plan for layout and information architecture seems to exist but hasn’t been fully implemented. Mostly good language and organisation, reasonably consistent layout.” If my statement explaining my design choices was convincing (and you know it would be) I’d probably be able to work my way up to a B. An A would be out of the question because my site isn’t quite valid HTML. “About six hundred errors or so, actually,” my students helpfully pointed out.

Of course! Adrian is having students assess one of their own blog posts against the assessment matrix he’s provided. That makes sense! Next time I teach the web design and web aesethetics course (the blogging one) I’m definitely going to set up some kind of mid-semester assessment, perhaps a peer- or self-assessment that counts towards the final grade.

Norway’s just now shifting from a very old-fashioned continental European tradition of distanced lectures by learned professors where students must not ask questions to an internationalised system with Bachelor and Masters degrees, European standard credits for courses, and ABC grades instead of numbers. In the old system all lectures were open to anybody (which was wonderful) and conversely courses were designed so that you could take the exam without attending lectures. This is terrific for those who learn well on their own but less than ideal for most real-life late twentieth century students.

I was brought up in the old system and do you know, it just didn’t occur to me that I could design the course with mid-semester requirements. Lots of other subjects have them now. It’d be easy. Now, students are supposed to be working evenly through the semester, and many are (there’s some really good work in their blogs recently), but there’s still a lot of deferral going on. People not turning up when they’re supposed to be presenting their projects. Silly stuff. This means that though I can ask students to provide feedback to each other, they won’t all do it. (And no, I didn’t always study evenly throughout the semester either. Far from it.)

1 Comment

  1. identity

    Letter grades and studying
    As Jill says in her post, norwegian school system is shifting from an old system of grades from 1.0 to 6.0, step by 0.1 (or 0.5 some places) to ABC grades and ECTS instead of "vekttall" (Weight/value of courses)….

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