Program Outcomes Six and Seven: Assessment and Evaluation Using Technology

Assessment and Evaluation Using Technology: Assessment Redesign by Claudine Morgan

EDU 697, Dr.Anthony Valley

October 3, 2016

Introduction

Upon examination of literature regarding effective technology-based assessment and evaluation tools as well as practicing the use of technology to collect data and interpret results, it has become apparent that while some groups protest the use of technology in education, the benefits outweigh any risks or potential problems. After examining the benefits of utilizing technology for assessments, this paper will evaluate a previously designed MATLT activity. After determining which changes should be made and why, a redesign will be presented. This redesign will conform to program learning outcome six “technology resources to facilitate effective assessment and evaluation” and outcome seven “utilize technology to collect and analyze data, interpret results, and communicate findings”. A discussion of the changes made will follow the redesigned assessments as well as a discussion of design and implementation challenges.

The Benefits of Technology Utilization and Assessments

Technology has provided society with many benefits. People can shop, communicate, research, and learn online. People can use their computers to create lists, spreadsheets, and even papers for school or work. Students and instructors benefit from utilizing technology in many ways. Students can use mind mapping programs to further their understanding of a topic. They can create a PowerPoint to share a visual and typewritten representation of their knowledge. Students can also convey their understanding of a topic through the use of a blog or wiki. Instructors can use these tools to provide students with assessment options that appeal to their learning style (Horton, 2012). Instructors also benefit from the utilization of online test building programs. The CourseSites website allows instructors to create online tests that can be taken by students at any time. The website also stores a list of previously built test questions so that instructors can pick and choose which questions to add to or subtract from an online test. After these tests are taken online, they can be scored automatically providing both student and teacher an accurate reflection of the students retained knowledge (CourseSites, n.d.). While online education removes both the student and teacher from the in-person classroom, it allows educators and learners from across the globe to come together. This provides a wealth of benefits for rural, disabled, or homebound students. It also allows instructors to meet their student’s needs and learning styles with more flexibility (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).

There are groups and schools that protest the use of technology by students. For example the Association of Waldorf Education in North America believes that students thrive by utilizing activities such as dance and music rather than a computer. They assert that students will not develop intellectually or emotionally if they are stuck utilizing technology on a daily basis. Other groups argue that instructional videos and instructional programs are inadequate when compared with classroom discussions. They also believe that students who utilize technology will not fully learn how to socialize with one another (Rosenberg, 2012).

In my experience, I have found that a combination of technological education and interpersonal education exceeds the exclusion of one or the other. I agree that grade school students should learn about art, practice dance, and perform music. I also believe that the students need to be technologically literate. Modern society requires computer literacy. Many employers only accept online applications. Most jobs that I have held in my lifetime have required some degree of comfort with technology. To deprive students the ability to develop confidence with technology is akin to depriving students of art or dance. It is my belief that technology education is just as important as English or art class.

Assessment Summary and Information

This assessment is from a CourseSites based classroom: Introduction to Lab Animal Husbandry (Mouse 101). The site can be accessed through this link after accepting the invitation that was sent to your email address. None of these modifications have been posted on the CourseSites website as of this writing.

Introduction to Lab Animal Husbandry is a course that was designed to be used in a mixed classroom setting for on the job training at my current place of work. I work in the Center for Comparative Medicine at the University of Virginia. When I started, I was told that my job requires that I take care of the lab mice used in medical experiments within the center. I have discovered that it encompasses so much more. I am a mouse caretaker, advocate and veterinary technician assistant on my own and an advisor and customer service representative when it comes to the lab researchers. This course is designed to reflect most of those rolls.

There is also an accompanying PowerPoint that will be uploaded with this paper. It would ideally be shared in person, with the students also having access to it online. While it is difficult to assign assessments in a work training setting, I have tried to keep them as short and user friendly as possible while still meeting the requirements of the original classroom assignment that prompted their creation. What follows is most of the assessment information from Module One. The only exception is the omission of the introductory discussion post.

The Original Assessment:

Introduction:

This week’s lesson focuses on the mouse. Students will review mouse physiology, genetics and breeding through a series of lessons, readings and exercises. Students will also be introduced to biosafety levels as a precursor to next week’s assignment. The week will progress with two required discussion responses, an assignment and a required 5 question quiz. By the end of this unit students will be able to meet all of the learning objectives listed below.

  • Students will develop an understanding of how genetics plays a role in breeding by reading resources and responding to the posted discussion question.
  • Students will learn about breeding by completing this week’s readings and assignment.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of mouse physiology, genetics and breeding through a five item quiz.

The PowerPoint “Mouse Care Basics” has important notes attached to it. Because of this it is best viewed in presenter or edit mode.

Resources for completing this week’s assignments and expanding student understanding.

About Breeding:

Jackson Laboratory (2016) General husbandry tips. Jackson Laboratory. Retrieved from https://www.jax.org/jax-mice-and-services/customer-support/technical-support/breeding-and-husbandry-support/general-husbandry-tips

Jackson Laboratory (2016) Colony planning. Jackson Laboratory. Retrieved from https://www.jax.org/jax-mice-and-services/customer-support/technical-support/breeding-and-husbandry-support/colony-planning#

About Genetics:

Human Genome Project (2015) Genetics, DNA and heredity. PDF. Published by the Human Genome Project. Retrieved from https://www.genome.gov/10005911/genetic-education-resources-for-teachers/

  1. A. (2011) Genetics word list. Vocabulary.com website. Retrieved from https://www.vocabulary.com/lists/40556#view=notes

Optional reading:

O’Neil, D. (2013 Mendel’s genetics. Retrieved from http://anthro.palomar.edu/mendel/mendel_1.htm

Optional reading:

To learn more about BSL read the article and explore following website. We will be reviewing BSL and PPE (Personal protective equipment) in depth, next week.

McLeod, V. (2010) Biosafety levels 1, 2, 3 & 4. Lab Manager. Retieved from, http://www.labmanager.com/lab-health-and-safety/2010/12/biosafety-levels-1-2-3-4?fw1pk=2#.V3mcezXuqDY

Module One Discussion

For this discussion post you will select an aspect of genetics that you would like to learn more about. You can chose from the following:

Genotype verses Phenotype.

Dominant traits versus Recessive traits.

Heterozygous versus Homozygous.

In this post you will:

  • Define the terms.
  • Provide examples of both terms.
  • Explain what effect your chosen topic has on lab mouse breeding.

You do not have to limit your post to mice. You can discuss how recessive traits show up in people for example, but you must discuss your opinion on how it effects mouse breeding. You can include tables or graphs in your post if you would like to. To get started click on the Additional Required Learning Resources drop down arrow and look under “About Genetics” you may also want to look at the information under “About Breeding”. You are welcome to use all of these resources and more. Be sure to list the resources that you used at the end of your discussion post. (Hint: you can copy the class resources from the CourseSites page.) Your initial post needs to be at least 300 words.

You will also be responding to at least two of your classmate’s posts. Read all of the posts before responding. Try to choose posts that discuss different topics than yours to reply to. When you respond you should evaluate what effect their chosen topic has on breeding and determine if you and your classmate agree. In your response, you should also state what topic you chose and discuss how you tied your information to breeding.

Module one assignment:

For your first assignment you will be exploring mouse breeding, you will be required to write a two to three page (double-spaced) paper or create a five to seven slide PowerPoint with notes.

Part of your job at UVA sometimes includes reassuring nervous researchers. Some of them have invested years into producing the perfect colony but poor breeding practices can stop colony growth in its tracks. They may ask you if you think their breeders are too old or what they can do to continue their line more successfully.  By completing this assignment, you may be able to help your researcher continue a valuable line. You can explore breeding practices, length of time the male is fertile versus the female or any other questions that you have about breeding or colony management. A good place to start looking for information is in the required reading section under “About Breeding”

If you are stumped for a topic try one of these:

What are poor breeding practices and can you help to change them?

Causes and cures for poor breeders.

What are appropriate breeding schemes?

How to recognize when pups need to be fostered.

Module One Quiz: (designed to appear in a random order)

  1. Match the word with the corresponding definition:
    1. Heterozygous
    2. Homozygous
    3. Phenotype
    4. Genotype

Answers

  1. Both alleles are different
  2. Both alleles are the same
  3. How something looks
  4. How something is genetically designed

 

  1. Multiple-choice: Mice are polyestrous. What does this mean?
    1. Male mice will mate with any female.
    2. Female mice can only have up to seven pups every 60 days.
    3. Female mice go into heat frequently.
    4. Male mice can be in a box with up to three females at a time.

Answer

  1. Female mice can go into heat frequently.
  1. Multiple choice: How much food and water does the average adult mouse consume daily?
    1. 10 mL of food and 12 g of water.
    2. 1 to 2 g of food and a pint of water.
    3. 8 g of food and 2 to 3 mL of water.
    4. 3 to 6 g of food and 4 to 7 mL of water.

Answer

  1. 3 to 6 g of food and 4 to 7 mL of water.

 

  1. Fill in the blank. A mouse who is house to buy himself should get a cup and a what?Correct answer: Nestlet
  2. Acceptable answers: Nestlett, Nesttlet
  3. True or False: Mice are long-lived, in fact they have been known to outlive rats by up to four years! The average lab mouse can live between three and five years.

Answer: False

Problems with the Original Assessment

Module one covers a great deal of information. With on the job training, new workers do not often have the luxury of time. Many corporations expect to have new employees trained and working efficiently as soon as possible. In light of this, I will not be reducing the information quantity. I will however, be looking for ways to help students gain a deeper understanding of the information in order to increase their information retention. I will also be looking to save students some time by providing a variety of assessment opportunities that will appeal to a variety of learning styles. If this were a classroom setting versus an on the job training setting, I would strive to make the assignments a little more challenging rather than shorter. I plan to simplify the overall process as I am expecting students to be provided limited time at work to get their assignments finished.

The Modified Assessment:

Introduction:

This week’s lesson focuses on the mouse. Students will review mouse physiology, genetics and breeding through a series of lessons, readings and exercises. Students will also be introduced to biosafety levels as a precursor to next week’s assignment. The week will progress with one required discussion response, an assignment and a required 5 question quiz. By the end of this unit students will be able to meet all of the learning objectives listed below.

  • Students will develop an understanding of how genetics plays a role in breeding by reading resources and responding to the posted discussion question.
  • Students will learn about breeding by completing this week’s readings and assignment.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of mouse physiology, genetics and breeding through a five item quiz.

The PowerPoint overview “Mouse Care Basics” has important notes attached to it. Because of this it is best viewed in presenter or edit mode. This will be reviewed in our class meeting but you are also encouraged to review it independently. Hint: Some of the answers to the quiz questions are in the PowerPoint!

The reading resources below are for completing this week’s assignments and expanding student understanding. These resources contain a great deal of information and none of them require much time to read through, be sure to check them out!

To learn more about Breeding:

Jackson Laboratory (2016) General husbandry tips. Jackson Laboratory. Retrieved from https://www.jax.org/jax-mice-and-services/customer-support/technical-support/breeding-and-husbandry-support/general-husbandry-tips

Jackson Laboratory (2016) Colony planning. Jackson Laboratory. Retrieved from https://www.jax.org/jax-mice-and-services/customer-support/technical-support/breeding-and-husbandry-support/colony-planning#

To learn more about Genetics:

Human Genome Project (2015) Genetics, DNA and heredity. PDF. Published by the Human Genome Project. Retrieved from https://www.genome.gov/10005911/genetic-education-resources-for-teachers/

  1. A. (2011) Genetics word list. Vocabulary.com website. Retrieved from https://www.vocabulary.com/lists/40556#view=notes

O’Neil, D. (2013 Mendel’s genetics. Retrieved from http://anthro.palomar.edu/mendel/mendel_1.htm

Optional reading:

To learn more about BSL read the article and explore following website. We will be reviewing BSL and PPE (Personal protective equipment) in depth, next week.

McLeod, V. (2010) Biosafety levels 1, 2, 3 & 4. Lab Manager. Retieved from, http://www.labmanager.com/lab-health-and-safety/2010/12/biosafety-levels-1-2-3-4?fw1pk=2#.V3mcezXuqDY

Module One Discussion: Genetics

For this discussion post you will select an aspect of genetics that you would like to learn more about. You can chose from the following:

  • Genotype verses Phenotype.
  • Dominant traits versus Recessive traits.
  • Heterozygous versus Homozygous.

In this post you will:

  1. Define the terms. (the Genetics Word List will be helpful here)
  2. Provide examples of both terms.
  3. Explain what effect your chosen topic has on lab mouse breeding.

You do not have to limit your post to mice. You can discuss how recessive traits show up in people for example, but you must discuss your opinion on how it effects mouse breeding. You can include tables or graphs in your post if you would like to.

To get started click on the Reading Resources drop down arrow and look under “About Genetics” you may also want to look at the information under “About Breeding”. You are welcome to use all of these resources and more. Be sure to list the resources that you used at the end of your discussion post. (Hint: you can copy the class resources from the CourseSites page.) Your initial post needs to be at least 300 words.

You will also be responding to at least two of your classmate’s posts. Read all of the posts before responding. Try to choose posts that discuss different topics than yours to reply to. When you respond you should evaluate what effect their chosen topic has on breeding and determine if you and your classmate agree. In your response, you should also state what topic you chose and discuss how you tied your information to breeding.

Module One Assignment:

For your first assignment you will be exploring mouse breeding. Part of your job at UVA sometimes includes reassuring nervous researchers. Some of them have invested years into producing the perfect colony but poor breeding practices can stop colony growth in its tracks. They may ask you if their breeders are too old or too fat. They may ask what they can do to continue their line more successfully.  By completing this assignment, you will be able to help your researcher continue a valuable line. You can explore breeding practices, length of time the male is fertile versus the female or any other questions that you have about breeding or colony management. A good place to start looking for information is in the required reading section under “About Breeding”

Because your time is limited and learning styles vary, you have several choices when it comes to developing this assignment. You can choose to:

  • Write a two to three page (double-spaced) paper.
  • Create a five to seven slide PowerPoint with notes.
  • You can design a mind map. (Bubbl.us will provide you with a free mind map and instructions on how to build it.)

The choice is yours. Just be sure to convey your understanding of your chosen topic thoroughly.

You may choose one of these topics or create your own:

  • What are poor breeding practices and can you help to change them?
  • Causes and cures for poor breeders.
  • What are appropriate breeding schemes and why?
  • How to recognize when pups need to be fostered.
  • Reasons mice sometimes have trouble giving birth.
  • Is “Breeder formula” really beneficial to breeders?

 

Module One Quiz: designed to appear in a random order

  1. Match the word with the corresponding definition:
    1. Heterozygous
    2. Homozygous
    3. Phenotype
    4. Genotype

Answers

  1. Both alleles are different
  2. Both alleles are the same
  3. How something looks
  4. How something is genetically designed

 

  1. Multiple-choice: Mice are polyestrous. What does this mean?
    1. Male mice will mate with any female.
    2. Female mice can only have up to seven pups every 60 days.
    3. Female mice go into heat frequently.
    4. Male mice can be in a box with up to three females at a time.

Answer

  1. Female mice can go into heat frequently.
  1. Multiple choice: How much food and water does the average adult mouse consume daily?
    1. 10 mL of food and 12 g of water.
    2. 1 to 2 g of food and a pint of water.
    3. 8 g of food and 2 to 3 mL of water.
    4. 3 to 6 g of food and 4 to 7 mL of water.

Answer

  1.  3 to 6 g of food and 4 to 7 mL of water.

 

  1. Fill in the blank. A mouse who is house to buy himself should get a cup and a what?Correct answer: Nestlet
  2. Acceptable answers: Nestlett, Nesttlet
  3. True or False: Mice are long-lived, in fact they have been known to outlive rats by up to four years! The average lab mouse can live between three and five years.

Answer: False

Changes Made to the Original Assessment

In my experience, supervisors have limited patience for the time it takes to complete on the job training assessments. Because of this, I have made the assessments relatively easy to complete in a short amount of time while still covering the necessary information.

I left the introduction and objectives the same. They seem to cover the module information well without being too overwhelming. I added words of encouragement and “hints” because these students are participating in on the job training and their school experience is likely to vary. It is also plausible to assume that they will feel somewhat overwhelmed by the need to complete assessments. In order to help reduce feelings of anxiety a friendly tone is employed.

I cleaned up the reading list. After reviewing it, I realized that students should explore most of the reading assignments. I omitted the 3 different groups of optional reading assignments in favor of one optional reading assignment at the end. I also added friendly words of encouragement to the reading list introduction.

I made no major changes to the discussion post because it is a simple assignment with a small word requirement. I believe it is ideal for on the job learning.

The assignment required more changes. I rearranged the assignment text to allow for a smoother reading flow. I also added more technology choices to appeal to variations in learner skills and abilities. Finally I added more topic choices. When a person is beginning a job it is difficult enough to remember everything. I believe that providing a foundation of researchable topics should be the instructor’s job.

The online quiz is easy to take within the CourseSites environment. It is short which is ideal for on the job training. The CourseSites format also allows me and the students to see how well they did on the quiz. I really like this assessment.

Design and Implementation Challenges:

I believe the biggest implementation challenge would be encouraging student workers to actually complete assignments. I spoke with a new employee today about the possibility of using this type of format for training. She agreed that classroom training would be helpful to her but she also disclosed that she would not want to be required to do any writing. She stated that she would be looking for someone to do her writing for her because she absolutely hates it. In light of this information, if it were within my power, I would be inclined to offer a financial incentive to employees who complete the course. A slight raise or even a one-time bonus would provide most of my coworkers with the needed incentive.

When designing the assessments, my toughest challenge was balancing what I want my students to know with what they need to know in order to do their job. For example, there is no requirement for understanding the basics of genetics. However, when writing out identifying information for each mouse, an understanding of genetics is helpful. It also comes in handy when discussing potential breeders with a researcher. An employee could avoid this by not having conversations with their researchers, as some currently do. Although part of our job requires good customer service skills and good customer service comes from a thorough understanding of the product and services provided.

Closing

After reviewing the previous assessment I realized that while it utilized technology for both the creation of assessments and knowledge evaluation, it lacked clarity and the necessary brevity for on-the-job training. I created clarity by rewording some of the assignments as well as providing students with greater options for their assessment development. I did not reduce the required word count for the discussion, although I did provide a mind mapping option for the assignment. By allowing students three technology-based options for completion of their assignment I have appealed to a wider range of learning styles. I also believe that adding the mind mapping component will likely save many students time developing their assignment while generating a deeper knowledge base. I did not feel that it was necessary to modify the five question quiz as it covers the necessary information and will not take a long time to complete. While the original activity was largely adequate, I believe that the modified version will save student workers time with its clarity and expanded options.

 

 

References

Bubbl (n.d.) Brainstorm and mind map online. [Website] Retrieved from https://bubbl.us/

CourseSites (n.d.) Learn more. Retrieved from https://www.coursesites.com/webapps/Bb-sites-course-creation-BBLEARN/pages/index.html

Horton, W. (2012) E-learning by design. 2nd Edition. Pfeiffer. San Francisco, CA.

Morgan, C. (2016) Module one. Introduction to Lab Animal Husbandry. CourseSites. Retrieved from https://www.coursesites.com/s/_Mouse101

Rosenberg, J. (2012) Technology in the classroom: friend or foe? Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-rosenberg/technology-in-the-classro_2_b_2018558.html

Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek (2012).Teaching and Learning at a Distance: Foundations of Distance Education (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

 

 

 

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