Friday, July 3, 2020

2020 #VWEDU: #DTA: A learning place with a DTA can handle asynchronous study, but should it? I thought yes, but a teacher told me why I was wrong.


A learning place with a DTA can handle asynchronous study, 
but should it?   I thought, yes. 
but a teacher told me why I was wrong.


Students have their own circadian rhythms that may not match those of the school.  They have always had flexibility in scheduling homework.  Online learning could allow more flexibility, especially when a digital teaching assistant (DTA)  is available to help.  And busy teachers do not need to be spending time with students who do not need help.  When can students study with only the aid of a DTA?
The Empty Classroom
Studying on their own schedule

Asynchronous work by students


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Don't confuse study with credentialing

  • Credentialing is any assessment that contributes to passing a course.
  • The objective is not learning but evaluation
  • This discussion is about activities aimed at learning.

What study can be asynchronous?

  • A lot of study used to be done from books.
  • That was almost always asynchronous.
  • Any study that is entirely reading can surely be asynchronous.

But there is an if...

  • Reading online is not familiar to all students.
  • And accessing online text can sometimes have problems.  
  • The students may need help. 
  • Until they are past the early stages of digital literacy..
  • So beginners may need to select study times when help is available.
  • For the Beginner level, the teacher might want to be available.
  • For the Novice level, the time options might include times when any help is available. 
  • Perhaps when they reach the Apprentice level of digital literacy, they could be expected to handle digital problems on their own.
  • Note that this plan would create an incentive to work on advancing. 

Suppose the study is active.

Choice could recognize achievement

  • For students who are doing good work 

Group learning

    But tests have to be synchronous

    • That's to prevent cheating, of course.  
    • That is why teachers make up new tests every semester.
    • And those teachers who really do that have a good case for synchrony.
    • The rest are just kidding themselves.
    • But let's distinguish among objectives:
    • Formative assessment:  
    • The objective is to improve the student's learning.
    • Summative assessment:
    • The objective is to establish academic credentials 
    • Credential (Wikipedia)

    Formative assessment: The computer advantage

    • The computer can ask questions or assign tasks.
    • It can be available to students 24/7  
    • It can draw a random selection of test items from a database.  
    • It can give a different set of items to each student.
    • (What happened to that argument for synchrony?)
    • If the items are designed for computer evaluation it can give prompt feedback.

    Formative assessment: Cheating problems?

    • The objective is to improve the student's learning.
    • Cheating would defeat that objective.
    • Who loses?  The student has to face summative assessment later.
    • But suppose the student is working at home.   
    • What will keep them from Googling the answer?
    • Let them, but count time to respond.  
    • If they take a long time, the feedback can add that other students are much faster/
    • Then be sure they have to answer that question again.  
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