Lee Skallerup Bessette
Incorporating Students in Developing Digital Assignments
Increasingly, students are becoming more involved in the pedagogical process within their institutions on campuses across the country. Inside Higher Ed featured a Mellon-funded project at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges (Flaherty, 2017). Their program, called Students as Learners and Teachers, trains student-observers in pedagogy and then pairs them with a professor who they don’t have a course with to give the professor feedback. As put in the piece:
“Both professors and students benefit from the program through increased engagement, metacognitive awareness and a stronger sense of identity, and improved classroom experience, Cook-Sather said, sharing the following comment from a student partner: “My preparation for and my discussions with my faculty partner have made me more self-reflexive about my own experience and responsibilities as a student.”
A different kind of program exists at Harvard, where they have Learning Lab Undergrad Fellows, who help faculty “design and test assignments that utilize innovative modes of communication such as movement, drawing, speaking, etc.” (Learning Lab). The students often also advise and work with faculty on new technologies that the assignments would involve. Again, these students receive training on working with faculty and pedagogy.
While at UMW, I created a Student Beta-Tester program to involve students in the development of digital assignments through DTLT. The program included four weeks of asynchronous training using OER on digital pedagogy, giving feedback, as well as assessment and evaluation and online learning (Student Beta-Testers). The purpose of this presentation is to introduce the program, discuss the results, and have a conversation about incorporating a similar type of program at other institutions.
Flaherty, C. (2017). Student Evaluations of Professors That Might Help. Inside HigherEd. Retrieved on February 10, 2021, from https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/06/16/aaup-discussion-centers-many-benefits-embracing-students-both-learners-and-teachers
Learning Lab. Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. Retrieved on February 10, 2021, from https://bokcenter.harvard.edu/learning-lab
Student Beta-Testers. Retrieved on February 10, 2021, from http://betatesters.readywriting.org/