How we work differently now

In what ways do we work differently now, when it comes to differentiation, organization and carrying out learning and assessment activities?

Through working with the project, we have been involving students in discussing and defining assessment criteria more systematically than before. For example, one example of an assessment criteria was given to the students by the teacher (“use the APA citation and referencing style”), and they were to discuss and suggest other relevant assessment criteria for the specific assignment given. The discussions and suggestions of assessment criteria were based on the task given and the relevant competence aims in the course plan (“emneplan”).

The project led to students systematically providing and working with feedback by ensuring that we set aside time for planning. We had to be more aware than before when it comes to how the feedback is provided, how it is going to be worked on, how the assessment criteria are developed etc. We spent more time on peer assessment, where students provided feedback to peers on written texts in class. This was done as part of the assignment requirements. Furthermore, compared to before, we had to make sure that we talked about the writing process with the students. They had lectures on formative assessment and formative feedback, and they were made more aware of what it means to write through drafting, editing and revising.

Throughout the semester, the students wrote systematic reflection notes, where we gave them six questions regarding reflections on their writing, the feedback received, the follow-up of feedback and the use of OneNote to work with formative assessment. The reflection notes were written both in and out of class.

In general, the project has led to awareness raising about formative assessment, contributing to back-engineering the English courses. In addition to planning we usually do, like planning forward in time, we needed to take into consideration the whole process from the beginning of assessment work, assessment criteria, development work, reporting to NUV, research project, conferences, assignments, feedback, follow-up of feedback, reflection notes – until the product, being the student presentation portfolios.

How OneNote is used in this project

In which ways has OneNote supported our educational development work?

OneNote Class Notebook is a programme that lets teachers  create individual and shared work spaces for students.  A Class Notebook includes a Content Library where teachers can post materials such as handouts, videos and lecture slides, a Collaboration space for group work in and outside class, and individual Notebooks where each student can take notes, work on tasks, and submit homework and assignments.

Several of the students in our project reported that OneNote gave them the feeling that they were working on drafts, rather simply uploading finished assignments to a Learning Management System. This work-in-progress aspect lowered the threshold for producing content in and outside of class and lends itself more naturally to collaborative writing and to process portfolio work.

Furthermore, OneNote invites the creation of individual learning portfolios (Student Notebooks). This provides the course lecturers with insight into individual students’ work and progress. Students were made aware that these individual Notebooks were only visible to their teachers (not to their peers) and that their teachers would occasionally look at their homework to get an impression of their progression and perhaps leave some feedback. This also meant that we, as course lecturers could use this evidence of students’ progress to plan our own teaching, addressing any issues and misunderstandings that might have cropped up and that we might otherwise not have had insight into.

The Collaboration space, which can be edited by all students and teachers, invites collaboration in class and out of class. The Collaboration space was particularly useful for giving and receiving peer feedback. It was also used for note-taking during group discussions in class.

The Collaboration Area in OneNote Classroom

It should be noted that OneNote for Classroom is not a Learning Management System and was not intended to replace such platforms. Students in the project had to navigate two platforms at once, the LMS (It’s Learning or Canvas) and OneNote. The LMS was then used to send out messages to all of the students, whereas OneNote was used for drafting and notetaking, collaborative writing, and submission of assignments.

Finally, OneNote has been a useful tool for collaboration between project group members, as it has helped us systematize our own professional development work.