Topic Area: DEI
Presented by: Caitlin Cornell
In Spring 2020, I designed a 5-week mini-course: Race, Language, and Disability. I taught this course as an honors option for the Immigrants, Minorities, and American Pluralism course in James Madison College in fulfillment of the mentored teaching project for the Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Teaching Fellowship Program. I had designed the course (prior to Spring 2020 remote transition) to be maximally accessible and minimally anxiety-inducing, placing a strong emphasis on student choice in assessment. A purposeful design choice that started as a teaching and learning curiosity became a saving grace during a tumultuous time (we transitioned to remote learning mid-course). The course assessment comprised 4 critical reflections based on course readings and discussion. Not only did students have the choice to complete any 4 reflections from 5 weeks of topics, but they were also able to choose how to complete their reflections. I developed a rubric to assess learning outcomes within the reflections, but left the medium and design of the reflections completely up to students. While most students chose to write traditional essays, some embraced the freedom to choose a medium that spoke to them. I received illustrative videos of poignant art installations, poetry, and interviews that students conducted with their families while they were learning from home. This carefully devised flexibility led to extreme creativity and high engagement with course topics. Based on the perceived and reported effects on active student learning, I will continue offering as much choice in students’ assessment as possible.
Choice in Assessment (PowerPoint)