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Getting Creative With Course Assessments

Historians in the News
tags: education, teaching history, COVID-19, remote instruction



AUGUST 27, 2020

From: Beth McMurtrie

Subject: Teaching: Getting Creative With Course Assessments

This week:

  • I share examples of innovative assessment strategies.
  • I share an instructor's request to help students engage with digital textbooks.
  • I point you to resources for effective online, equitable, and antiracist teaching.

Ditch the Test

High-stakes tests are stressful enough. Add a pandemic and online-proctoring challenges to the mix, and they become even less appealing. What can faculty members do instead?

A couple of weeks ago, I asked faculty members to share creative assessment strategies, particularly ones that could translate to an online classroom. I received several great responses. Here are a few:

Multimedia history projects: Inspired by her department’s flipped-course approach to teaching, and by L. Dee Fink’s Creating Significant Learning Experiences, Johanna Mellis, an assistant professor of world history at Ursinus College, has largely shifted to using creative, end-of-semester projects for her 100- and 200-level courses. In her class on global colonialism, for example, students did research on the history of colonialism, “which they then ‘remixed’ using a digital tool of their own choosing, to explain the history to a non-History audience,” she writes. (They were taught how to use digital tools like TimelineJS, StoryMaps, Fakebook, and Microsoft Sway.)

Students in Mellis’s world-history survey course did a Storyboard That project, working in groups “to create a graphic history of an individual who experienced the Arab Spring as detailed in the NY Times piece 'Fractured Lands.'

This fall, Mellis is teaching a new survey course, online, on sports in world history. For students’ last assignment, she writes, “I am thinking of letting them do this final reflection in a format of their choosing (video, podcast, writing, a digital drawing tool, etc.),” though she is still working out the details.

Read entire article at Chronicle of Higher Education

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