FALL 2020: Prep for Spring with the Purposeful Learning Scorecard

Published by Brett Christie, PhD
on Dec 08, 2020

As we head into 2021, you may be wondering how effective your courses are in the online environment for your students.

Earlier this week, O’Donnell Learn CEO, Carrie O’Donnell, and I presented our third in a series of Fall 2020 webinars focused on helping faculty create better online courses and in turn, better learning experiences for students. For this webinar, Prep for Spring Semester with the Purposeful Learning Scorecard, we turned our attention to discovering where gaps might exist between instruction and learning and making improvements for the upcoming semester.

In 2020, O’Donnell Learn conducted a survey with 450 faculty across a variety of disciplines and institution types. While 42% of faculty surveyed had little-to-no experience teaching online, confidence was shown to be good. On a scale of 1 to 7, faculty rated their confidence for teaching online as 6. However, 49% of faculty surveyed also indicated their online course approach mirrored their face-to-face.

Experience has shown us that neither online instruction nor students are best served by a direct mirror of how course content is being taught on-ground. So while faculty confidence in online instruction was solid, learning effectiveness may not be.

Enter the Purposeful Learning Scorecard. To quote Carrie, “we developed this tool to give faculty guideposts for the future when they want to iterate their course and teaching. Our research revealed that iterating on their teaching was more important to faculty than redesigning an entire course. This is our tool to help faculty do that. A place to start, to self-check and go forward from there.”

The Purposeful Learning Scorecard is a tool we’ve made available at no cost to you to help faculty easily assess eight key areas for effective learning such as course overview and introduction, instructional materials, student learning, technology and more – including equity and inclusion. From there, faculty can use the scores to help guide areas they’d like to iterate on and improve for the next semester.

“We developed this tool to give faculty guideposts for the future when they want to iterate their course and teaching. Our research revealed that iterating on their teaching was more important to faculty than redesigning an entire course.”

For example, the scorecard might reveal an opportunity to rethink how students are welcomed into a course; taking a more humanizing approach to the course syllabus and overview. The syllabus on the left is a fairly standard representation of what is given to students at the start of the term. Now imagine a student’s experience receiving the syllabus on the right. The same course syllabus is presented in a more visually exciting manner, creating interest and engagement from start.

Tip: Canva is an excellent resource for creating an enhanced syllabus. They offer many, easy to use templates and are currently offering free accounts to educators.

Additionally, a course overview quickly comes alive with a simple, embedded video that shares a bit of your story, why you’re passionate about what you teach and gives students a little glimpse into who you are. Suddenly you are human and approachable, removing barriers that might have held students back from reaching out for help.

The good news is these videos do not need to be big-production or highly polished. It’s all about YOU connecting with the students and enabling them to feel a part of the course community. Michael Wesch provides a great model of making these videos easy and engaging.

We share this and more in Prep for Spring Semester with the Purposeful Learning Scorecard. Now is the perfect time to discover what simple changes could create more effective learning for your spring courses.

Watch the full webinar below. (Run time: 33 mins)

O’Donnell Learn Webinar: Prep for Spring Semester with the Purposeful Learning Scorecard from O’Donnell Learn.

Interested in watching the previous two FALL 2020 webinars? Find them at the links below!

Improving the Learning Experience with Low-Stakes Assessment

Techniques for Collecting Learner Feedback and Strategies for Applying What You Learn

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