Sunday, December 11, 2011

Private teacher-student conversation, the Online Text Assignment tool in Moodle

    Ever want to have a way for your students to converse with you online that allows the student privacy from their peers?  Email seems obvious, but my students don’t check their email.  Ever.  And I’ve had students “converse” with me via separate threads in a discussion forum (one thread per student).  But that’s not private (unless I want to set up each student as a separate group, which is way too much work when one has 100+ students in secondary school). 

    Happily, Moodle has the Online Text Assignment tool, which allows students to post what they’re thinking and allows me to respond.  My students find this to be very like posting to a forum, but they know that only the teacher sees what they write.  Since we’re in the midst of student-written and –directed plays, done in small groups, there is a fair amount of tension as some students take the work more seriously than others.  It’s useful to provide a private place to vent, as well as a place for students to reflect on the experience.  And I get to make suggestions (also private), or address the problem in the F2F class.   

    It isn’t quite the same “conversation” I’ve had when I had students post to separate forum threads about a research project, but it is more private, which I know students appreciate.  I get an email whenever a student posts a reflection.  This is similar to emails when a student posts to a forum – except forum posts show in the email, whereas the content of the online text assignment is not included in the email.  I like getting the emails especially for students who post early – so I can respond immediately – and for students who post late – so I can still respond.

    I'll be using this tool again. 

   I learned about the Online Text Assignment during the eAssessment in Moodle course I recently took through  LearnNowBC  So happy to expand my assessment repetoire.

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