Another good meeting, I (Ken) am personally very happy that we had 9 participants for this session.
We did realize there is an interest in #homebrew (the beer) as well as #homebrewwebsite. I mentioned the possible confusion with the hashtag on the whiteboard and Cervera said "hey I brew beer too". Ken made some nonsense remark about setting up a homebrew store like the ones in Canada.
We have a good process at the Tecnológico de Monterrey where we define our commitments ("Compromisos") for the academic year in advance and then review them at points during and at the end. Part of a holistic view of our roles as educators at our institution.
I'm busy reviewing mine from this year and realized that putting these in the open is a decent idea and I plan to do that going forward. Since I have no time machine to go back to the beginning of the year and post this, I'll post both what the plans were and a reflection of where I am so far on this.
The Big Five
Here is the list of the five factors which we look at:
Personal Development (Compromisos de Desarrollo Personal)
Teaching (Compromisos de Docencia)
Academic Vitality (Compromisos de Vitalidad Académica)
Service and Leadership (Compromisos de Servicio y Liderazgo)
Transformation and Continuous Improvement (Compromisos de Transformación y Mejor Continua)
I remain an Associate Professor and will need to plan for a review of that status in 2020.
I particpated in a full week training course July 31st - August 3rd, 2018 titled "Qradar training + Tec.Cyber" at IBM in Cambridge, MA, USA.
My evaluations have been 'fine'. Not high enough to apply for awards such as "Profesor Inspirador". Perhaps in 2020. I had applied way back in 2014 and 2015.
I implemented my own mid-semester survey (anonymous) to all of my students in March so solicit feedback which was very useful to myself and hopefully to my students.
I have continued my system of "requiring" three meetings from each student individually to discuss their progress in my course as well as in their lives. This has been a big success and the students have told me that they very much appreciate this. I have much more to write about this and should publish about it.
Students are able to schedule appointments with me that fits their own schedules. I have used this scheduling system in place of static office hours for years and this practice has been adopted by many other faculty.
Designing a new topic to be offered to international students as well as to students across degree programs (target candidates in computing in international relations) titled #SmartCitizens to be offered in August 2019.
We completed our NOVUS 2017 project "MolCaGeTe" and presented our final report AT CIIE 2018 in December. This project was led by my colleague Alejandro Parra with the invaluable work of students Lucía Velasco and Carolina Castañeda.
I presented MolCaGeTe as a poster at #OpenEd18 in Niagara Falls, NY in October 2018. Good feedback was received "MolCaGeTe - Replacing our Chemistry Textbook and Quiz System with Open Resources"
Working with the MolCaGeTe team on producing a published paper for the upcoming CIIE 2019.
Collaborating with an international team of researchers led by Dr. Hector G. Pérez González of the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí on a paper on improving object-oriented thinking in undergraduate students.
Registered for the campus program to be part of a permanent list of volunteers in programs connected to our campus ("oferta permanente del Voluntariado Tec")
I have registered the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Guadalajara as a Pharo Consortium Academic Partner.
I participated as a member of the Cyber Security Innovation Council at our meeting in Mexico City on November 7, 2018.
Transformation and Continuous Improvement:
I have not (yet) rebooted my cMooc offered in the past titled "OpenFlip". This was offered various semesters starting in the summer of 2014 and offered a total of six times. I intend to start another in June/July 2019. This is a free and open connected MOOC.
Coordinator for the CS1 course "TC1017" August-December 2018 and January-May 2019.
Regional leader (Occidente) for transfer of upcoming Tec21/Plan2019 CS1 courses TC1028 and TC1023 to be offered in August 2019.
Participated as a mentor in the March 2019 Assessment Center where we give graduating students in the computing program feedback on their coverage of core competencies of their degree program.
Participating in preparation of hybrid content for TC1033 in a national committee.
edit (April 2, 2019): This post was linked from an excellent article authored by Colleen Flaherty at Insider Higher Ed, "When Grading Less Is More". I thank Colleen for reaching out and including text from this post.
or Subterranean Homesick Blues
This is a post about work in progress, I have been thinking deeply on this over these past two semesters since I went back towards "traditional grading". I am formulating a plan for the pendulum to shift more towards what my colleague Laura Gibbs calls: "all-feedback-no-grades". You can read about this in much more detail in her upcoming book chapter "Getting Rid of Grades".
Just this weekend, this arrive in my Twitter DM inbox. My DMs are open on Twitter, I receive much more good than bad so it stays that way. I redacted the identifying information and it will remain that way unless I get permission to put that back.
Hi Ken, I hope you're well. I'm working on a piece on ungrading <redacted>. I saw your tweet about going back to traditional grading this year -- can you tell me more about that decision? What caused the shift? Thanks in advance for any insight you can spare!
So, again this is in draft form, but here is the answer to that one question for now below. If one wants some history, there is a bunch on my blog (old location) but the three most important posts can be found via the search for "abolishgrading".
So much of my work is wrapped up around connected learning, not just ungrading. This is all part of a critical digital pedagogy and I invite the readers to look at the work of Jesse Stommel and Sean Michael Morris for a much better definition of that term. In fact, just go read their writings put into a book format, it is free or you can pay for the book to support them. More on that at the webpage for the book: "An Urgency of Teachers".
Many others in this field influence me deeply, this sketch below (viz notes) by Giulia Forsythe of a talk by Bonnie Stewart speaks to that as well.
What Caused the Shift? or Yes, I finally answer your question
I would put the cause of the shift directly on me. I believe that students need freedom to learn, grading is often used to coerce students to do "what we want" and kills the creativity of our students. I perhaps went "too far" in giving the freedom and putting my role as 99.9% "the guide and mentor". Sure, I gave some guidance with a list of topics for my students to research, explore and write about (in code, in making and in writing) with the intent to give them the freedom to explore. Often the choices were larger as they could choose which topics to explore. I thought this was good. My first grading period (we have two partial grading periods before a final), I simply asked students on the exam to write about a selection of topics in the course so far and to give themselves a numeric grade on a scale of 1-100 (our official grading system).
They freaked out. Well, most of them.
So, we worked together to create a loose rubric to guide them on their discovery of their grading. That seemed to relieve their stress. It worked and I had some amazing results of work and learning from students. It was all wonderful.
But then came pushback. Some students expressed that "hey, you can just do pretty much 'nothing' and pass the course" or "we students can't be trusted, we need to be monitored and graded". This was a shock, I had discussions with students and decided that I needed to go back towards a traditional structure with deadlines (my deadlines were all "end of semester" for everything) and fit into what students were "accustomed to".
Yes, I am still extremely flexible, I just give an appearance of standard setup. I allow students to question a grade (most are simple 0/1/2 scale) and resubmit work to improve those grades. If a student discusses why something was late, I overlook the "late penalty", if a student submits an excellent work ten days late then I give them full marks and tell them how great their work is and give them feedback. Well, I try to give feedback on all the work.
But it just doesn't feel right, it doesn't feel pedagogically honest. Not to the students and not to myself.
So thanks to the discussions of many of my colleagues and my internal discussion with myself I am working on a change again.
More importantly, thanks to my students for feedback. I am a better learner when learning together with them.
I soon turn 50 in April and I can definitely be proud of what I've accomplished so far. I have a wonderful family, I have health, an amazing job working with incredible students at an excellent institution. Life is good, I can't complain.
Of course there have been failures, mishaps and calamity. Life is like that but I am privileged and lucky to still be here to face the future.
Obligatory Video Clip
I just can't resist the opportunity to include this not-really-but-somewhat-related-video-because-my-brain-works-like-that.
To many Canadians of my generation, the Tragically Hip was a big part of our youth. For me, this was the background soundtrack to my undergraduate days at the University of Victoria hanging out in the coffee shop, the pub and blaring in the kitchens that I worked in during my youth. This was part of my first 50 years. We all have the soundtrack of youth and many my age remember the hours we poured into making the #PerfectMixedTape.
A Call for Proposals
So I create a call for proposals: "What should Ken focus on in the next 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years".
Preferably a blog post but short microblog format accepted including tweets, Instagram posts, Facebook Posts.
If you can remember, include the hashtag #KensNext50. It will be entertaining to go find those.
You can choose the medium, the format, the length. The sky is the limit, have fun. I know that I will.
I really want to thank so many of you that I see in person everyday or not so often as well as to my friends and colleagues that I have constant contact with via the wonder that is the internet.
Ken gave a general overview of the idea of the meetinngs, each member shared where they were and what they would like to do in the near future. Ken arrived around 5pm to ensure we had a space reserved on the patio of the library and the rest trickled in between 5:30pm and 6:45pm. Remember you can just drop in but we would always appreciate if you let us know that you are coming to a meeting.
For the introduction, Ken pointed out the following historical links:
Earlier today I caught the end of a conversation on Twitter focused around the work of Laura Gibbs and her use (and struggles) with the gradebook in Canvas LMS.
we were forced to new Gradebook at my school this year, which means Late and Missing labels were being applied, even though they are completely inappropriate: students choose what assignments to do (nothing is missing) and I use a grace period so late is fine, not really late 1/2
This quick burst of tweets gave me the spark to bring back a project that I was working on back in 2016 to write my own WordPress plugin to create a gradebook inside of my course tools. One of the few missing pieces while using WordPress as my platform for my courses was that "comfort" of a gradebook to ease what can be an anxious part of students' lives: "but what is my grade going to be"? That plugin was a total hack and I quickly abandoned it.
Now, astute readers will be asking: "Grades, you don't do grades anymore Ken"! Well, that is a work in progress still and I am finding the right balance of scaffolding to provide the best learning environment for my students.
So I setup a GitHub board (criticalgradebook) and a GitHub repository (again, criticalgradebook) where I plan to build this tool. I'm putting out a call to anyone who would like to help define/design this. Perhaps we could setup a video call to discuss and hash out some ideas soon.
If you are interested, please contact me. I can easily add you to the GitHub board and repository and welcome any other input through any channel that works for you.