I thought this was quite interesting, and quite in line with Moodle's social constructivist Pedagogy.
Yes it is! Half way through reading it now!
Hi Tim and Mary,
Very interesting and I totally endorse it. I hardly ever use the "Assignment" activity for assignments because it's private. So many of my students write such wonderfully interesting assignments that I feel it's a crime to be the only person to read them. Nearly all my assignments are submitted via forums, glossaries or wikis which all the students in the course can read. Nobody has ever complained - but my students are adults.
I'm astonished that the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) objects to the public posting of grades: as a student I would demand it. If I get a grade B it means something quite different if most of my classmates get a C than if they mainly get an A. But then I've little personal experience of giving grades - in adult education the students don't expect grades, they want results.
PS At the moment it's true my students are submitting NanoGong assignments privately: they're EFL students and I'm asking them to learn and record songs in English. I foresaw some of them would not good singers so I didn't feel it right to ask them to sing "publicly". In fact, most of them sing pretty well. I'm thinking about how to make it more public...
Beg to differ. The authors offer a bad argument and potentially dangerous recommendation. There is no necessary conflict between private submissions via a digital dropbox and public feedback with opportunities for conversation. The instructor can make a list of typical problems with unidentified examples from the privately submitted assignments, post it on the course site and discuss it with the students online and in-class. The public feedback does not require public submissions.
As any general statement, the authors' conclusion is false in general and true only in certain cases. Dropping the digital dropbox may be conducive to learning where public submission of assessment is a skill that is explicitly listed as a course objective and the course is designed to develop through systematic practice. Otherwise it may be an obstalce to many learners. In mass (introductory) courses public submission of assessment may be particularly problematic as some students may be extremely uncomfortable with exposing their work and may not have the time or be given sufficient attention from the instructors to gain sufficient confidence.
I don't know about FERPA but at the university level, at least in some areas (especially humanities), it is probably quite fortunate that there is no public posting of grades, considering that as a policy there are no clear criteria for grading so that instructor could adjust the grades to a predefined class average set by the faculty and/or university.
I'm with you on this one Itamar. The articel seems to suggest that public is a way (the way?) to go. I work in situations where this is not possible. For example, my senior students' work is part of their overall grade which could be, in theory and increasingly in practice, challenged by parents. This would make it a legal document and so I wouldn't want that on the net. My students are reticent about performing - it takes time and the private submission of work makes it easier to get ideas discussed. I bring in the idea of public performance but only under specified conditions.
I get the feeling (especially with work blogs I post in) that there's the underlying assumption that web 2.0 is axiomatically better than traditional teaching methods. What we need, IMHO, is a reasoned discussion of the costs/benefits of everything we do in the classroom etc. I for one chose the method that gets me the best results whether that's a whiteboard or web 2.0.