Not To Be Trusted With Knives











{October 2, 2008}   UBC Learning Conference 2008

I’m at the UBC Learning Conference. And I’ve been taking my notes here in WordPress to publish a blog posting at the end of the day. Inexplicably, WordPress just ATE the first 1.5 hrs of notes.  Gone even from the revision history. Not impressed.

Now it’s part #2 of the Learning Goals session:

  • Francis Jones, Brett Gilley
  • course level goals (usually 2-6ish; help students decide if they want to take the course)
  • module (topic) level
  • lesson/assignment level
  • students must do their own learning (we can’t do it for them) and the goals must focus on what students will do, not on what instructors do, nor on content itself (e.g., “I want to “cover” topics X, Y, Z”)
  • think about how you will know if students acheive the goal
  • think long-term – what do you want them to know 2-5 years down the road?
  • as experts, we often forget what we did know when we were novices
  • (it’s weird that the previous presenter was named Beth, because Francis keeps saying “As Beth was saying earlier…” and my Beth-centricity1 makes me, for a split second, think he’s talking about me!”)
  • one of the people at my table reminded me of an acronym to remember the characteristics of good learning goals (Specific, Measureable, Action-oriented, Realistic, Timely)
  • activity: we are supposed to write down a topic from a course we teach, them 1-2 learning goals.  I teach several things, so I’m going with my main job (an addictions research training program).  Topic might be the neuroscience of addictions.  A Learning Goal I have listed in my online course in this topic is:
    • by the end of this module (as this section is taught through online, self-directed modules), students should be able to:
      • describe the basic neurobiological aspects of addictions
    • Is this SMART?  Hard to say how “specific” is specific enough.  Measurable, in that you can tell if you are describing this – could be better if I said “fully describe”?  Action-oriented = “describe” is an action verb. Realistic – I think so. Timely = “by the end of this module”
  • Now they are talking about domains (Cognitive, Skills, Attitidues”). Now it’s Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning. I’m not really hearing anything I don’t already know, as I’ve been to quite a few learning/education workshops and conferences.
  • Now we are to write exam questions (one at low level of Bloom’s, one at a high level) based on our learning goal:
  • lower level: illustrate the way in which drugs of addiction interact with the dopamine system of the brain.
  • higher level: categorize drugs of addiction by neurotransmitter(s) they affect (analysis level); defend the view of “addiction as a disease” using neurobiology (evaluation)
  • one group shared the questions they developed around the goal of “effectively work in teams”: justify the breakdown of work within the team in terms of (a) equality of effort & time, (b) knowledge/skills each students is acquiring (to make sure students don’t just each do the stuff they already know), (c) breakdown the skills you used in your team

1Props to Dan for his use of Dan-centric, which I, being Beth-centric, have adapted here.

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Dave says:

You know, that’s the exact reason why I was such a shitty student: no one did my learning for me.



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