Thinking about Bloom’s higher order skills in our online assessments had me re-thinking my F2F class assignments this week. I bookmarked several sites in Diigo on technology tools that promote higher level skills and attempted to write Bloom’s taxonomy table for the English course I teach at the local community college. In my assessments I spend a lot of time focusing on the writing process, but I still have some changes to make. I want to explore what tools might allow students to articulate some of the core questions and problems/solutions they explore in their research. They could create a digital artifact to be included in an e-portfolio, along with an introduction/reflection, the final draft of the essay, links to sources, annotated bibliography, mind maps, and possibly a link to class and individual blogs. What will creating this artifact add to the process of writing a research essay? Will it help the student better articulate their argument? Will it engage the student more in the research inquiry process? Will it improve their writing? This last question seems the most important when considering whether to implement this assignment. I suspect that while it may not require much writing, it will show whether students fully grasp the research issue, especially from the multiple perspectives required for a deeper understanding. They will also need to think rhetorically on how to present the information, an important skill in crafting an essay. So that end, it will be a valid assignment.
Contemplating Bloom in an online class leaves me a lot to think about as we move into Week 6. There are endless possibilities online and not all of them work! Noam Chomsky gave me pause for thought this week in a Learning Without Frontiers video in which he meditates on the purpose of education and the role of technology. Chomsky posits that we have experienced bigger changes in technology throughout history (he gives the example of the first cable). More importantly, if the purpose of education is to nourish creative inquiry, technology simply provides a way to be creative, critical and curious about the important issues. I think this is important as I search for new tools and ways to assess in my classroom. There are so many questions: does it promote and /or enhance authenticity? Does it engage and challenge? Is it rigorous and valid? These questions will be keeping me busy as I begin to craft my final project and complete these reflections on my blog.