This is a special guest blog post by Eric Matsuoka, Professor CC of Math and Math Coordinator at Leeward CC.
The spring 2015 initiative involved allowing and encouraging students to submit their statistics term projects using Web 2.0 tools instead of traditional documents. The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy places creating at its top level. Web 2.0 tools facilitate both that highest Bloom’s level and also facilitates various forms of collaboration, which is strongly emphasized as a 21st Century skill.
Although some popular news reports suggest that today’s students are adept at creating artifacts using Web 2.0 tools, many students have not connected such experiences to their educational endeavors. While it was not practical to dedicate class time to demonstrating the use of multiple tools, half of one class session was led by Educational Technologist, Rachael Inake, who introduced students to creating a website using a Google Sites template developed by the Educational Media Center. Rachael also spent time creating a tutorial video for students who needed to review the directions given in the live presentation.
The intervention was an unqualified success. 16 out of 23 students submitting projects chose to use a Web 2.0 tool. One student created a video while 15 created Google Sites. The average project grade for those using Web 2.0 tools was 6 points (half of a letter grade) greater than those submitting traditional paper artifacts. The average grade for the spring 2015 Web 2.0 submissions were also 8 points greater than the average grade for fall 2014 projects submissions, which were limited to traditional documents. Student perceptions of the Web 2.0 option and project-based learning itself were unquestionably optimistic, as well:
|Response||Survey results (n = 23 in each case)|
|I liked having options for submitting my project||91.3%|
|Choosing my own topic probably motivated me to work harder on the project than I otherwise might have with an assigned topic.||65.2%|
|In working on the project, I could better see how topics covered in class are used in the statistical process.||73.9%|
|Having the option to make a video, web site, or some other format other than a paper got me to think more about what I was doing and how I would present it.||78.2%|
|The presentation and screencast tutorial by Rachael Inake led me to create, or at least consider creating, a web site for my project submission.||65.2%|
Unfortunately, offering the Web 2.0 option in the summer session was not successful. There were confounding factors that make it difficult to determine why students did not try the Web 2.0 option. One was undoubtedly the short duration of the summer session. Another is the lack of an in-person training session (although the spring semester video tutorial was made available). The intention is for the option to be available in the fall semester and, schedules allowing, to have another in-person class session with an Educational Technologist.
Anecdotal reactions from students were generally positive. The ordinarily-ubiquitous question of how long a report needed to be was virtually nonexistent in the spring. While students were only required to set their sites to be viewable by their instructor (me), several (links below) made their video and web sites publicly viewable, which is one of the first steps in virtual collaboration.