|Michael Record runs a popular Technical Authoring evening class at Broward Community College in For Lauderdale, Florida. He’s using a very effective mix of online and classroom teaching to do it, which he’s very kindly given me permission to profile here.
The core of the course is the course blog. There is one entry per week, telling the students what to expect in the next class. Michael also uses the blog as a handy access point for essential downloads and links.
Each lesson starts with a quick Yacapaca test of between four and fourteen questions about the previous week’s content. Here’s the start-of-course quiz. Michael points out:
I certainly had no trouble following it, though it clearly is his own course and not something you could just pick up and teach from. If I were teaching a similar course here in the UK, I guess I could re-use somewhat more than half half Michael’s questions and save myself a lot of work.
Another interesting point from the UK perspective is that Michael is following the Mastery teaching principle:
Note the word ‘snapshot’. This is a word I hear repeatedly in the context of Yacapaca. Multiple-choice tests, especially, deliver assessment results quickly without getting in the way of your teaching. But don’t expect them to give you a deep understanding of a student’s inner being.
One of the really cheering things for me is the way Michael continually tweaks both the course and the assessment:
I say ‘cheering’ because Michael is exploiting one of the unique features of Yacapaca. When we first decided to store questions separately from quizzes, I knew we were making the system more complicated than it absolutely had to be, just to knock out a quick quiz. I reasoned that over time, authors would want to reuse questions in different combinations, and that when they did they would appreciate the extra flexibility this approach offers. This is exactly how Michael is using Yacapaca.
The course tests are grouped into two semesters, which you can see here (Yacapaca login required)
You will also find them in the English category. Do remember when looking at these that the course blog explains the material being covered, and each quiz covers the previous week’s content.
Two final points, at the risk of stating the obvious:
Click to enlarge