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Photo of the word learn spelled out on Scrabble tiles from Pexels licensed under CC0

It’s Only Up from Here!

Submitted by Nathan Abourbih

Photo of the word learn spelled out on Scrabble tiles from Pexels licensed under CC0
Photo of the word learn spelled out on Scrabble tiles from Pexels licensed under CC0

Level Up #1:

What challenge, problem or motivation inspired you to make one small change?

Increase speed of marking and consistency. Traditionally the midterm and lab assignments are given to students as a Word document and students are requested to put their computer code into the document beside the appropriate question. To mark them, I need to download all of the word documents, open them, and look at them one by one. It is time consuming because that process is slow and students often use different formatting in their documents.

Tell us about your one small change:

Instead of having the students hand in a Word document, I explored the possibility of using a Moodle quiz to post the midterm and lab assignments. I created Moodle quiz that contains essay answers that require manual grading. I turned off the ability for the students to add formatting… Bold, italic, colours. Additionally, questions that require the student to provide a picture or a screenshot are easily added using the file attachment option in Moodle quizzes.

What was the result of your one small change?

Answers from the students are now consistent and easy to read, and most importantly it is very easy to copy and paste the computer code that the students hand in and verify it for accuracy. Now instead of having to download more than 30 Word documents and open each one individually… or wait for Moodle to render a PDF which takes forever, I am able to more easily breeze through marking.

Level Up #2:

What challenge, problem or motivation inspired you to make one small change?

We had some technical challenges in the lab that caused me to suffer from very intense time slicing during class. I found that I was doing a lot of running around helping people with different technical issues rather than doing a class wide demonstration as much as I would have liked.

Tell us about your one small change:

Making instructional videos

What was the result of your one small change?

I have started to make instructional videos for students showing them how to perform various tasks in their computer and programming classes.

Level Up #3:

What challenge, problem or motivation inspired you to make one small change?

Helping students to prepare for midterms, answering questions about what will be on the midterms.

Tell us about your one small change:

I wrote a PDF document that I called a midterm study guide. Please feel free to view the document in my Moodle shell, the class is dba1001 and the PDF file is at the top of the Moodle page. I went through some of the material available on the website and suggested that students make use of some of the studying techniques that I found through links on the website.

What was the result of your one small change?

I used the documents to do a class wide review before the midterm and students were able to walk away from that class with access to the documents I provided giving them something to refer to when they went home. Being that this is my first semester, I’m not sure if students did better as a result but most of the students did very well on their midterm and I hope this was one of the reasons.

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