Presentation: Creating and Evaluating Assessments

Earlier this year, Nate Ewings and Kristine Pierick at UW-Extension presented Assessments, Alignment, Evaluation, Oh my! The Path to Creating and Evaluating Assessments. The presentation examines ways to create high-quality assessments. You can view a powerpoint from their presentation here:
Faculty Symposium Assessments

While viewing a powerpoint doesn’t replicate the experience of attending a presentation in-person, there are some great ideas included:

Characteristics of high-quality assessments
Aligning learning objectives with assignments
Including real-life applications for students
Examples of how these ideas have been implemented in courses

A Way to Help IL Colleagues: Quickmarks in Speedgrader

Have you used Quickmarks when grading student work? It can save time – and lots of it – with its tools to save and reuse comments or other feedback that you might often provide when grading assignments.

Quickmarks is not currently available with Canvas, but we can reach out to the Canvas developers to request this feature at the following link:

Whether you’ve used this feature, would like to try this feature, or simply want to help your IL colleagues by making the request, your vote improves the chances of it being implemented.

Good Practice Reminder: Out-of-office Notifications

With the end of the year and the holiday season approaching, many instructors will spend some time on vacation or out-of-the-office. If you’re planning on taking time off:

1) Inform Program Director Sarah Korpi [] at least two weeks before your vacation.

2) Inform your students as soon as you know about your vacation. This gives them time to plan their course completion. An email to students along with a post in your course Newsfeed/Announcements is a great way to communicate this information with students.

On a related note, for a list of Federal Legal Holidays – days that the Division of Continuing Studies is closed, go to:

Massive Open Online Courses

In recent years, MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, have become more popular and common. These online courses can each have tens of thousands of students enrolled. Since summer, 190 universities have announced or launched 600 free online courses in a wide variety of fields of study. A list of these courses, along with links to other lists of MOOCs, can be found here:

Some things to consider:
What is your own familiarity or experience with MOOCs?
What are the pros and cons of these kinds of courses?
Many of these courses have free and open access. Is there anything in these courses (content, layouts, ideas, etc) that we could incorporate in our own courses?

Resource: Creative Commons; ADEIL thank you!

Are you looking for media – images, video, etc – to incorporate with your courses? Try Creative Commons:

From their website: “Creative Commons helps you legally share your knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world.” It’s not a search engine, but you can use it to search through things like Wikimedia Commons and various media repositories. Please note: they don’t guarantee that just because you found it through them, that you have the copyright permission to use it for your specific needs. However, you can generally look up information on the media that you find through Creative Commons and determine the copyright information from there.

Also, thanks so much to everyone who attended or assisted with ADEIL’s conference last week at Memorial Union in Madison! It was a great time to connect with colleagues from around the country and share ideas.

Open Educational Resources

Two Independent Learning Courses – German for Reading Knowledge and Legendary Performers – incorporate Open Educational Resources, or OERs (links are included below). OERs are “are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation.” (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization).

As they’re free, they can save students a lot of money. As they can be freely shared and adapted, it also allows you to pick and choose which subjects or topics you’d like students to learn about in your courses; perhaps you’ll use one chapter from one source and another chapter from another source. An additional benefit: you don’t run into the issue of a publisher no longer printing a textbook you’ve been relying upon, or have students accidentally purchase the wrong edition.

There are a wide variety of sources available online to find OERs. Some act like a search engine, while others include lists of courses with attached OERs. A by-no-means-exhaustive list includes:

The Center for Open Education with the University of Minnesota includes a library of free, downloadable texts that you can search through and a community of people sharing their expertise in OERs. Perhaps one of sources could work as a textbook in your courses.
OER Commons allows you to search for textbooks, activities, and courses by subject matter and education level, and includes Open Author to create and share resources, lessons, and modules. You can also make an account to collaborate with others.
Connected with the California State University System, the MERLOT system offers curated online learning, support material, and content creation tools. It could especially useful for supplemental materials for a course.
OpenStax CNX of Rice University lists courses, each one linked to a digital, OER textbook.
MIT OpenCourseWare offers online texts for STEM courses.
The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges manages the Open Course Library; the listed courses link to a google drive, which contains materials for the course.

UW Independent Learning OER Examples:
A Foundation Course in Reading German

Learn the Legends

Technology Services Available

As employees of UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies, we have access to a wide variety of technology services for our Independent Learning work. Some of these services involve assistance with computer/network help or borrowing equipment like a laptop or headset and microphone. There are also resources to administer online surveys or tutorials for general computer tasks.

For those interested in content creation, we have resources and assistance to make teaching materials: possibilities include informal recordings, narrated slideshows, a course blog, and even open online textbooks and tutorials.

For more information, go to:

Resource: Internet Archive

During a course revision earlier this year, a member of the Extension Instructional Design Team made me aware of Internet Archive. It describes itself as “a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.”

It’s something of a resource of resources that’s user-friendly to navigate. There’s community-uploaded content alongside material from physical libraries and hosts of other sources. You can look through video, audio, patents and trademarks, journals, and even video game speed runs. Especially interesting is their Wayback Machine, their archive of websites as they have appeared throughout the years.

You can explore Internet Archive at:

Internet Archive also allows you search for media based on its distribution rights (for example, if it’s in public domain). To learn how, go to:

Instructor Media Examples

Our partners at UW Extension have put together a showcase of instructor media examples. From Instructor Welcomes to Course Guides to Lecturettes to Supporting Content, you can see what our peers have created with the Extension media teams to help generate some ideas on how you might incorporate media with your courses.

Do you have any other examples of using media in your courses? Let us know – we’d love to share your work!

Bucky’s Tuition Promise

Starting this fall, Wisconsin residents who are incoming or transfer students and whose household adjusted gross income is $56,000 or less will receive free tuition and segregated fees at UW-Madison. UW-Madison students (along with all full-time students in the UW system) can enroll in Independent Learning courses at no additional tuition costs, so low-to-moderate income families have free access to educational opportunities at both UW-Madison and UW’s Independent Learning.

Do you know anyone who might be able to take advantage of these opportunities? You can share more information with them from the link below: