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How to convert your course content into Kritik Activities

Break large assignments down into smaller activities

Cumulative assignments can be transformed into smaller segments of peer evaluation that will ultimately help your students produce a higher quality final assignment.

How to:

Start by segmenting the steps necessary to creating the final assignment, and creating activities for each portion. For example, in a research paper, assign:

  • One activity in which the student presents their hypothesis
  • One activity in which the student presents their data collection methodology
  • One activity in which the student presents their findings and discussions

Turn Readings into Engaging Material

Students absorb an abundance of content through weekly readings, but they cannot fully exercise this until class or during their exams. You can transform this into opportunities for students to retain this information and extend their learning through peer evaluations.

How to:

Per each weekly reading, you can assign quick, frequent activities such as:

  • Creating a question based on the reading materials
  • Sharing notes and comments made on the readings
  • Teaching the readings in a creative way
  • Answering thought/discussion provoking questions
  • Creating a video explaining the contents of the reading

Homework Questions and Problem Sets

Homework questions are also a great repository for peer evaluation content. Not only can students evaluate solutions to questions, but they can also investigate and build on their peer’s thought process.

How to:

Assign activities per set of homework questions, and ask students to clearly outline their thought processes, formulas, and diagrams for peer review. Be sure to share solutions to the questions with the class as soon the deadline is terminated.

Labs and In-Class Activities

In-class teaching methods are easily transferable to Kritik. The beauty of using Kritik for labs and in-class activities is that you can reap the benefits of the concise timing of the activity scheduler, and prolong the discussion far after class time.

How to:

Set the deadline for creation shortly after the lab or in-class activity is done. The creation phase can be used to submit lab results or findings done in class. The evaluation and feedback stage are used as a discussion board for the different conclusions that your students have made through their findings.

Bloom's Taxonomy

Our templates for our activities include higher order thinking skills from Bloom's Taxonomy. Learn more about Bloom's Taxonomy here (HYPERLINK)

Bloom's Taxonomy Hierarchy

Create a Question

Students are required to formulate a higher order thinking question that is focused on course material. This question aims at assessing the complexity, depth, reach, and importance of the problem.

Create an Essay

Students are encouraged to write a controversial opinion or subject-based argumentative essay. Students are assessed on their thought clarity, accuracy, creative, critical thinking, source and evidence.

Create Content to Teach Peers

Students are asked to teach content to their peers in a way that promotes higher content retention among their peers. Students are assessed on the basis of content organization, relevance, clarity and knowledge.

Creative Communication

Students are expected to express the content of the course in a creative manner (i.e. through illustration, infographic, short video, or anything that helps to convey the message more easily than plain text). Creations are assessed by organisation, knowledge, text, readability, creativity and visual aids.

Best Practices

Best practices for creating activities and structuring peer evaluations

Validity

The outcome that you should look for in a peer evaluation is validity. What this means is that a student peer evaluation should mimic the same depth, thought process and insight as a professor’s evaluation. This is a clear marker of success, because a professor’s marking abilities are typically held to the golden standard. Not to mention that a valid student evaluation proves that grading automation is sustainable because it replicates that of a professor’s.

Reliability

Reliability is measured by the consistency among peer evaluations. Unless a piece of work is subjective, a collection of peer evaluations must point to a general direction in order to provide value. This can only occur when evaluations are consistent across the board, in terms of evaluation depth or given score.

Maximum Capacity of Words on Bodies of Work (Creations)

For written work, essays should not exceed more than 1,000 words. As you might imagine, students can provide more precise feedback on content that is shorter in length. This leaves less room for too much variation in evaluations, and students are prompted to make more consistent conclusions among themselves.

Maximum Capacity of Words on Evaluations

Even the number of words on evaluations should also be limited as well, in order to ensure that effective, regular and concise feedback is given. According to a study conducted by West Virginia University, feedback should not exceed 50 words or more.

Clarity of Criteria Given to Students 

Keep your rubrics clear and concise. Give examples and indicators of poor, moderate, and excellent bodies of work. In terms of transferring professional knowledge to your students, clarify your thought process as well as tips and tricks that you use throughout your grading process. Naturally, this boosts the validity of your student’s evaluations, as you help shape an evaluation process that mirrors that of your own.

Number of Evaluations Required by Students

An excessive number of assigned evaluations will exhaust the student and their time, which can deplete the quality and validity of the peer evaluations despite adequate training and instruction. At the same time, the accuracy of grading will be compromised if only one or two peer evaluations are provided for a given work. According to a few studies conducted by Georgia State University and Pennsylvania State University, the optimum number of individuals to review is between four and six.

4 Essential Transitional Strategies for Online Teaching During COVID-19

How educational technology will help your online teaching initiatives in the midst of COVID-19.

In-class lectures can be transformed into online segments, using various online tools. Before deciding on the online tool which best suits your teaching style and course material, we will cover important questions to consider, and strategies to implement.

Transitioning from in-class lectures to an online learning environment with only limited time and resources available can feel very overwhelming. To mediate this stress, we recommend that all professors prioritize their learning goals.

With learning goals aligned, the decision will become clear on the necessary tools needed to achieve a successful virtual classroom experience.With only a portion of the term left, take a moment to consider what learning outcomes and takeaways students will need to prepare for their next year of studies, or graduation into the real world. Use this to understand what the priorities for learning are and be sure to communicate them clearly to the students.

Next, review the material still left to cover for the course. Not all students have easy access to the appropriate resources to participate in an environment of online learning. It is essential to see if the rest of the course can rely on assignments, readings and discussions for student progress and evaluation.

Will students consider researching information or completing assignments on this topic reasonably straightforward? Will students need more direction and/or feedback? Are there readily available on-line instructions or relevant resources? Examples may include weekly written assignments, quizzes, or assigned readings. If so, assess what online tool can accommodate your needs.

Checklist: 

  • Does this tool integrate with my LMS?
  • Will my students adapt to this tool quickly?
  • Can it accommodate large file submissions?
  • Can I accomplish the majority of my learning objectives through this tool?
  • Can I integrate other learning tools with this?

2. Create Resourceful & Creative Solutions

Not all courses can be conducted online. Courses that need certain equipment, work-spaces or hands-on work will be difficult to integrate online. To prevent learning and student engagement from reaching a complete standstill, professors will need to be creative and resourceful when implementing their teaching material into an online environment.

First, consider how you use the majority of your class time under normal circumstances. Are there portions of your class that absolutely need to be delivered through a lecture or a live demonstration?

Next, ask yourself if any of those teaching methods can be made available for students via podcast, video recording or live chat. Can these recordings be made interactive to keep the students actively involved? This can include online video discussions, or providing cues in video recordings to refer to assignment notes or other course materials.

3. Keep Communication Clear & Effective

With recent announcements of in-person classes and examinations suspended, it is crucial to keep students in the loop.  With recent campus closures and social distancing increasing, students are looking to professors for guidance. Begin by asking your students to keep an open communication channel with you whether it be through your LMS or direct email.

Start off by setting out expectations for aspects of the course such as participation, technology, or other tools to be used, and any limitations posed from the current learning environment. This way students can become aware of the challenges and workarounds needed to keep themselves engaged in the course, from a distance.

Keep students up to date on any new schedule changes, assignment deadlines or changes to the course syllabus or grading process so students feel more engaged and comfortable.

4. How to Manage your Time

Current class schedules are inadmissible now. With students juggling multiple courses and responsibilities, it is important to establish a daily schedule with your students so they are fully aware of when to be 'online.' Be sure to include regular breaks as this will benefit both you and your students to maintain a healthy and well- balanced lifestyle. Roadblocks and adversity during this time is inevitable, so it is important that messages are relayed through multiple channels whether it be email, LMS or other tools.

With administrative tasks and work piling up in addition to the pain and uncertainty of the past weeks, there is no doubt that professors will feel stressed. To alleviate some of this strain, Kritik can help by providing an automated grading process for consistent written feedback. Instead of having professors facilitate remote collaboration, Kritik can accomplish this as a standalone platform, as it incorporates evaluation and feedback-on-feedback assessment for every assignment. Students will have the opportunity to learn from one another and become stronger peer evaluators. Additionally, to help assist with any technical issues we have extended hours of customers support, with our customer service agents readily available on live chat, email and phone.

Teaching Tips In The Midst of COVID-19

Amidst the pain and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, professors are scrambling to transition their courses online. Here are some tips to ensure that students stay engaged during a time of social distancing.

Two ways to keep lecture designs the same when transitioning online

Restrict cheating/plagiarism cases when you replace in-class exams to take-home examinations.

We understand that under the current circumstances instructors need to find alternative options for administering final exams at the end of the semester. In some cases, final exams can be formatted as multiple choice questions or true/false questions as long as there is a correct answer. We have seen these types of exams administered through online platforms like an LMS, Class Marker and Webassign.

However, for more subjective forms of final assessments such as a written essay, there is no single, clear answer. Taking home written assignments can open the door for the potential of students plagiarizing and/or collaborating to gain unfair advantages over their peers. In the modern virtual classroom, final take-home assignments can take the form of students presenting content through both audio and visual formats. This type of assessment (along with a peer review component) further deters academic dishonesty as students must present and comprehend materials with their own strategy and voice.

Students are given a push to further understand what they have written by narrating their written pieces, such as a monologue, essays and etc. Students can identify sentences that sound strange, or are difficult to make sense by listening back to them, which is a good way to identify whether too much information was derived directly from other texts rather than paraphrasing them.

Criteria\Level

Very Poor

Poor

Acceptable

Excellent

Originality

Paper was plagiarised entirely. Text exactly matched the external source and copied word after word without clear acknowledgement.

Paper has traces of plagiarism. Paraphrased information is not given due acknowledgement to the author's work being used.

Some information that is out of the student's scope of knowledge not cited. References are present but missing some in-text citations.

Any information that is out of the student's scope of knowledge is clearly cited for.  All first source and secondary sources of information are referred to with in text citations. All in-text citations have appropriate references listed.

Will student's really identify plagiarism?

Watch here as economics professor Alex Gainer explains how he uses Kritik to hold his students accountable for honesty and integrity. It is interesting to note how far students will go to assist professors in detecting potentially plagiarized material.

Simulating In-Class Presentations

Many courses often rely on class presentations as a significant component of a students final grade. Kritik helps professors transition activities related to presentations into their online courses without having to compromise on the quality and effectiveness of a students work.

Can Kritik allow such large submission files?

Yes! Students using Kritik can submit large files of 100MB, providing more than enough storage for large audio, video or presentation files.

Virtual leaders of each group will have the opportunity to submit a PowerPoint presentation for peer evaluation through Kritik. Students can evaluate presentations based on the criteria designed in the rubric for this activity as well as provide critical feedback or questions for future improvements.

What Next?