This is the blog for the SGC4L project, funded from the JISC Assessment and Feedback programme and led by the Physics Education Research Group at the University of Edinburgh.

As well as this blog, the project wiki contains documents and information on the progress, development and dissemination activities associated with the project.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Getting started with biology students.

The second year biology (genetics) students are now one week into the course and, after only three lectures, there are already 22 questions mounted on the course PeerWise site. Moreover, all but the two most recent questions have attracted multiple comments. Almost all of the questions involve digestion and re-synthesis of lecture material.  Perhaps this rapid and encouraging uptake is, in part due to better scaffolding provided during introduction of the course as compared with last year. A log of the process and information for setting this task for this class (GGA), including the introductory powerpoint slides are available to view on request.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thinking qualitatively

We're beginning to think about how to assess the quality of the questions that students have been submitting in their courses, and we have recruited a couple of final years Honours project students in Physics to help us out.

A starting point is to generate some ideas for what sort of classification scheme we might want to use to be able to classify the questions. We need to bear in mind there are several HUNDRED questions for each course, so the classification has to be coarse enough to be done reasonably quickly, but fine enough to capture the essence of the questions across different dimensions. Here are examples of 2 such dimensions that we might want to consider:

a. A classification based on cognitive challenge of the questions. We might want to think about mapping onto the various levels of Bloom's Taxonomy: knowledge and recall at the bottom of the hierarchy and so on.

b. Some sort of measure of 'physics sophistication'. Is this question a straightforward application of a single physics principle (eg cons of energy)? etc.

There's a recent paper by Paul Denny on this topic that's going to prove to be a useful starting point for us:

Watch this space.