Adjusting to the new set

As everyone in the PACE family now knows, we are no longer teaching face to face classes.  Our students have been sent home, instructors have to adjust their delivery; everyone is facing uncertainty.

The key word in that paragraph is ADJUST.  Neither students nor instructors can expect courses to be the exact same as they were planned for face to face.  Resiliency, flexibility, patience, and adjusting expectations are key.

Ideally we want to meet the learning outcomes of our course, how we get there has to change.  We may not be able to use the same exercises or methods as we planned, but by sharing ideas, testing out new methods, and being willing to make mistakes, we will be able to accomplish our end goal.

Be sure to check out this space for ideas as we try stuff out, and look at the Instructor Communication Portal.  We have updated that with lots of tools and ideas.

Making Feedback Effective: Part 2 – The How

Providing feedback that is useful depends very much on how it is delivered.  Feedback should be personal, timely, constructive, and meaningful.

Personal is about addressing comments to the student; use the students name to open the communication.  Just like a conversation, start off with addressing the student by name.  Comments that follow should also be for this student about their assignment, not general or generic comments about the whole class, and especially not about another student’s work.

To be useful, feedback needs to be timely.  Delivering feedback months after an assignment was completed loses the connection to the lesson and the course materials.  Timing is important in order for the student to make the connection, and to be able to demonstrate understanding on further course assignments.  At PACE, we ask instructors to provide feedback no more than 7 days after an assignment is turned in whenever possible.

Feedback also needs to be constructive.  This is about providing students with ideas and direction on how to improve their work or their understanding.  It is not always about giving the right answer, although that may sometimes occur, but is about giving comments and encouragement to direct students to a better understanding of the assignment or a component of the assignment.

Being meaningful is about having feedback that is related to the assignment or the assignment criteria.  The comments provided need to relate to the work that is being done, and have some value to the student in terms of deepening the understanding or improving the materials. 

Feedback is not just about correcting low scoring assessments; feedback, delivered correctly, is valuable for any student regardless of their grade.  To see some more detailed tips on making feedback more useful, look at the website


Nexus Tip of the Month: View Settings

On many pages in Nexus, it is possible to adjust the view settings related to the number of items being displayed on the page.

For example, when viewing the list of Assignment (dropboxes) or looking at the Classlist, the default is to show 20 items per page.  To see ALL of the items related to that page, scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see a dropdown menu that allows you to change the number of items in the view.

A good practice is to always adjust this setting to show the maximum number, 200 items, so that you see the entire content of that page at one time.

If you are using the ‘select all’ feature, say on a Classlist to send an email, or an assignment dropbox to download papers, you will want to be sure the view is set the maximum number, or you will not be including everyone in that email or download!