Research and Practice Brown Bag

April 24, 2013

Sharon Derry, the School of Education’s Thomas James Distinguished Professor in Experiential Learning, will present Wednesday at the latest in our “Research and Practice Brown Bag Series.”

Derry’s talk is entitled “To Improve Experience-Based Learning Online: Assess the Experience.” She will describe an online learning science course she developed in which much of the content was introduced through readings, but learned by students  through online discussions and problem solving.

The talk will begin at noon in Peabody 02. Light lunches will be provided for about 25 people. The lunches are made possible through the generous support of Malbert Smith (M.Ed. ’77, Ph.D. ’80) and Metametrics, Inc.

The abstract for the talk:

At UW-Madison I offered a learning science course for educators that introduced topics on memory and cognition; technology, thinking and culture; and brain science. The course developed learners’ ability to think critically using the course material, not only in classrooms but also considering current topics in the news. I offered the course online using asynchronous discussion tools. Content was introduced through readings but “learned” through small group collaborative tasks, carefully designed to require knowledgeable use of course material for successful completion. Posing tasks with video cases provided realistic contexts for thinking with course material. Over five years I evolved the course systematically using a design-based research paradigm, studying the effects of design changes on student learning and satisfaction. Some evolutionary changes that enhanced the course were: 1. Moving assessment focus away from evaluating learners’ task products toward evaluating online arguments. 2. Changing the instructor’s role from guiding collaborator to assessor of collaboration. 3. Formalizing expectations for online participation as rubrics for shaping and judging learners’ arguments. Assessing argumentation presents challenges for very large courses, but AI approaches may offer solutions.

Speaker: Sharon Derry
Time: Noon
Place: 02 Peabody Hall