Program Assessment with Moodle Workshop
The Moodle workshop can streamline assessment procedures. With its malleable features, the workshop can accept a variety of rubrics and a variety of measures. As explained in Inside the Moodle Workshop, the workshop can help to calibrate assessment scoring, can prompt students to assess their own work, and can prompt students to assess each other. Then, paired with the Meta Course option, the workshop can link all available sections of a course.
A writing program administrator could link several course via the meta course, which serves as a parent. During spring 2009 assessment at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, I linked over fifty sections of first-year composition. Students then uploaded a copy of their assessment essays to the parent meta course, the nucleus of linked meta courses. From those essays, assessment essays were randomly selected.
Linking courses in Moodle and then implementing single-essay assessment via the workshop opens interesting opportunities for research. Mainly, students can assume an active role inprogram assessment by assessing both their own work and the work of peer students. Those results can then be correlated with the assessment scores assigned by trained, calibrated assessors. With those results, researchers could compare student perceptions about their writing to actual assessment scores. Will students score their own work higher or lower than calibrated scorers? Will students score peer students' work higher or lower than calibrated scorers?
For students to effectively assess their own work and the work of their peers, they will need to undergo calibration sessions, and those calibration sessions would naturally fit into course discussions of the grading scale and of genre expectations. Such actions can help students become vested in the academic work they produce in their composition courses by fostering an awareness of the machinery that informes what happens in composition courses.
The Council of Writing Program Administrators Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition, for example, outlines “what composition teachers nationwide have learned from practice, research, and theory.” The Outcomes Statement occupies such a prominent position in first-year composition in American post-secondary institutions that Patricia Freitag Ericsson tracks how institutions use it. Of import is whether the outcomes statement is used in courses or is used in assessment. In a program where students participate in program assessment, students could read and discuss the outcomes statement. They would gain valuable meta-knowledge about composition. While Moodle itself is a platform that naturally caters to the social constructivist nature of writing, incorporating peer assessment may engender positive student engagement.
Next: To view a Moodle Workshop instructional video, go to Appendix D: Moodle Workshop Student Tutorial Video