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trying to keep up

May 24, 2010

Two weeks into summer classes, and I am of course behind.  However, not too badly since I am only teaching one class, an advanced communication class.  We have been working on their first videos.  For that, I have updated the Windows MovieMaker Resources page.

One thing I learned this week is that it is not advisable to drag and drop a video into the XP MovieMaker program, the only one we have on our computers in the lab, because it doesn’t import the video, but it will look like it has because the MovieMaker application allows the editor to manipulate and edit the video.  However, the problem comes when the students tried to save their video.  It would not save.  They were getting messages about not having the proper sources, which they appeared to have.  Apparently, by dropping the video into MovieMaker the program did not process it like it would if the video was imported. 

This summer, I have been working at analyzing the highest level reading course in order to write learning outcomes since that is going to be a college wide requirement soon based on our accreditation recommendations.  Currently, the college only has to do it for the general education required courses to keep accreditation.  Still, it looks like that is a sign of things to come.

To return to my working on the analysis, I have taken the state reading exit exam skills and tried to analyze them for what a reader needs to do, how the skills match to the textbook and workbook, and on which tests the skills are tested.  It has proven to be somewhat revealing.  As I analyzed the tests supplied by the textbook writer, I found certain skills were hardly treated and some were treated out of the order of the textbook.  For example, drawing conclusions is addressed in the middle of the textbook, but there are a few questions that require drawing conclusions on the first unit test which comes after an introductory chapter that deals basically with study skills and vocabulary.  Know this, we can revise the test to exclude some if not all of these questions and add questions that either address the skills taught in the chapters covered or preview skills in the coming chapters.  This information should be helpful in rewriting the unit tests we have plus identifying areas that are not being addressed well.

Now I will take a shot at writing learning outcomes for these skills.  If I can get them done for this reading class, I should be able to adjust it to the lower level classes and then take on the writing and communication classes.  I see some advantages to doing this.  First of all, it will give teachers a better idea what to teach and how things fit together.  Second, we can give students an edited version so they know what to expect from the class.  Third, it will help us redesign tests and other assessments.  Fourth, it will provide a basis for a teacher’s guide that new teachers will be able to use to get up to speed on our classes.

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