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Teaching Tip: Helping Your OM Students Assess Their Progress

February 8, 2017

studentsFaculty Focus (Feb. 6, 2017) suggests that before midterm exams you enable your OM students to assess their performance and set goals, as well as to ask questions of and provide feedback to you. One way to do this reflective opportunity is through an online journal assignment in which students do the following:

  • Report their overall grade in the course
  • Report their attendance record (when attendance is required)
  • Reflect on their performance, whether it meets their expectations
  • Provide goals for the rest of the course (often in the form of a GPA, but can also be learning outcomes)
  • Provide feedback and ask questions

    Try to do this about a 1/3 of the way through a course so that underperforming students can still change trajectory. They can take 50-400 words to complete the assignment. Their posts range from brief conclusions that they are exactly where they want to be, to detailed descriptions of problems and questions about how to move forward. You won’t grade the assignment, but students will be required to complete it.

    Here’s what you need to know before you implement the progress report assignment.

    • Instructor requirements. (1) Students must have already completed some graded assignments, and (2) they must be able to see the individual grades and understand how they contribute to the course grade.
    • Large classes? This activity would not take long for the tremendous benefit it provides to the class dynamic, student success, and your end-of-semester evaluations, because many reports do not require a lengthy response.
    • Non-tech version. If homework is given through the university’s LMS, it is easy to give an online assignment for this progress report. If you prefer an offline version you can allow students to type or write their progress reports and turn them in during class.

    This small activity can have a big impact on students and on your OM teaching. It also builds strong rapport at critical points early in the semester.

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