Monday, May 11, 2015

Final Report, Spring 2015

My contributions to the Spring 2015 term of instruction at Oklahoma State University have ended. At the end of the term, I had three classes: ENGL 3323, Sections 006, 009, and 011--three sections of Technical Writing.

ENGL 3323.006
End-of-term enrollment: 16
Average course grade: 840/1000 (B)
Number of students earning an A grade (900+/1000): 2
Number of students earning an F grade (600-/1000): 0

Strangely, no students in this section lost points for excessive absences.

ENGL 3323.009
End-of-term enrollment: 18
Average course grade: 874/1000 (B)
Number of students earning an A grade (900+/1000): 8
Number of students earning an F grade (600-/1000): 0

Strangely, no students in this section lost points for excessive absences. Grades in the class clustered high; no students earned below a B.

ENGL 3323.011
End-of-term enrollment: 18
Average course grade: 768/1000 (C)
Number of students earning an A grade (900+/1000): 2
Number of students earning an F grade (600-/1000): 1

The one student who failed did so as a direct result of excessive absences (more than ten during the term). Another student lost some points due to excessive absences, but did not fail the class as a result of points lost.

This term offered a slate of classes that allows for easy comparison to last term. Three sections of Technical Writing are common to both, with one section number overlapping directly and meeting at the same time and in the same location.

Attrition was slightly higher this term than last; the classes show a net enrollment decline of five students to last term's two. The students who remained in the class until the end of the term appear to have fared somewhat better than their predecessors; fewer absence penalties were awarded, the failure rate was lower, and the overall incidence of A grades was much higher--although that incidence is skewed by Section 009, which appears to have been unusual in its concentration of Honors students.

I have perhaps not been as diligent in this webspace as I ought to have been; I have not posted examples of work here as I have in past positions, although I have made them available through other means. I have also been more diligent about report-writing than I was when I began teaching at Oklahoma State University. That much is good.

Also, owing to student submissions, I am revising my course documents for future teaching. Of particular note will be a realignment of how headings are declined; one student's method for doing so caught my attention, and I am adapting it to my purposes. The same is true of my employment documents such as the CV and resume.

Revision of how the blog and course website display is also being considered. I have no plans to retroactively adjust materials at this point, but I am thinking much about doing things differently going forward. My color schemes and such follower models of thinking I learned as an undergraduate, and I have not been an undergraduate for a decade, now. Rethinking how I present course and other data online suggests itself as worth doing; I shall be looking into current best practices and aligning with them as far as I can.

I will also be revising my grading policies, returning to an older model not unlike that discussed here, which asserts several categories for assignment assessment and awards a score of A+ through 0 to each, taking the integer value of the average thereof as the total assignment grade. The system worked well with the set of students for whom it was deployed. It also allowed for faster determination of assignment scores and less complaints from students about grading; there tended to be less argument that an item was B-level work than that it was an 84, 85, or 86.

There is much to do, even now that the term is ended.

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