|Constructive alignment is about making sure the assessment and teaching reach the learning outcome!|
For example, the constructive alignment is about making sure that the learning outcomes as stated in the curriculum are aligned with teaching and learning activities as well as how we assess that students have learned. To me this was nothing new, teaching practical programming on the computer and having programming exams on pen and paper is not a good idea. More interesting to me is that Carolyn Hoessler chooses to start her video on the subject with the following quote by Parker J. Plamer:
"Our assumption that students are brain-dead leads to pedagogies that deaden their brains".
I think that is an awesome quote that reflects my impression on many dialogues with colleagues where we teachers complain over that the students lack interest in our subject. Maybe the lack of interest comes from our lack of belief in them?
I have spent many hours trying to make my learning resources more clear in order to avoid getting lots of questions and remarks on them. This is especially true for my assignments, where the assignments started out as short briefly described PBL-open-ended-tasks and then turned into more rigid ten pages with detailed descriptions of everything and some of my students still asked questions and complained about the assignments. The difference is that now I can say "just read the description". The long detailed descriptions have now become a problem for some of my students.
I did not know at the time but I kind of used the model ADDIE of creating and improving these assignments. I analyzed the problem and used the feedback I got from the students to improve and try to create these "perfect assignment descriptions". In the Analysis phase of ADDIE the designer finds out the necessary steps to carry out the instructional goals but does also incorporate the learners current understanding of the subject. ADDIE also focuses on clarity and to get feedback from the learners to improve the form.
While I still believe in clarity I think I lost something on the way. The ten-page assignments symbolize my lack of belief in the students. Problem is that a small group of the students uses the assignment descriptions as weapons and if they are not bullet proof I get a lot of nonproductive discussions about the details. But taking this course and listening to Gilly Salmons I now believe this might be due to the lack of scaffolding. Perhaps I do not support my students enough through the "easy stuff" like the use of tools, communicating, building groups, providing a welcoming environment to ask questions and how to search for information by themselves. When the students lack these foundational skills they are simply not ready for open-ended tasks.
However, the long descriptions did do some good: I do now understand how much work it is to do the assignments and how many steps it takes. That is in ADDIE terms I gained the result from the "instructional analysis" and also the "learner analysis" . I believe I should now go back and re-iterate on the assignment since the instructional analysis shows that perhaps the assignments are too big and the learner analysis that the students lacked essential skills. These skills can perhaps be easier acquired in prerequisite courses or I should construct other assignments that must be completed before the "hard one".
ADDIE, Five stage model and Constructive alignment all help us to design courses and assignments. Using these I hope to regain the open-ended PBL assignment I once had.