Saturday, September 30, 2006

For those who can't get enough of the classroom

I've been playing around this afternoon with this assessment simulation. (Why didn't they call it AssesSIMent? I would have.)

It's kind of fun, but probably too simplistic, and I think it makes some false assumptions. For one thing, if the teacher workload is set too high, the simulated result is that the teacher doesn't return marked work on time and/or that the students don't get sufficient feedback. Whereas in reality I know that the result is more likely to be that the teacher keeps 15 hour days and works his/her arse off to keep the students happy.

The reactions to most of the scenarios I played around with seemed reasonable, but then I entered the assessment tasks and objectives for the intro course I taught last year and the simulated students became very unhappy indeed. In reality, students always seem to enjoy the assessment for this course, and many of them go beyond what is required and do optional tasks or those set for higher level students as well. But the simulation obviously can't take into account the "fun-ness" of the tasks set, or their perceived practical value to the students.

In general, though, it's a fun tool to play around with, and it's almost worth it just to see the cute little stressed and happy faces of the virtual students.

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