Well it’s the end of the semester and I have to say it was a success. Normally enrollment in the Basic AutoCAD course drops severely towards the end of the semester. Additionally there are usually several students who don’t take the practical final because they have fallen so far behind.
This semester I implemented several new practices in all my classes.
- Most assignments were “practice” and not graded.
- Only “Labs” were graded. There were five of these throughout the semester. “Labs” had a duedate, but no penalty for being late.
- I graded “Labs” in class. grade were “complete”, “minor problems”, “major problems”
- I kept Lectures short & had alternative instruction methods available such as short videos and interactive exercises on each command. additionally I posted all the Lectures to youtube.
Here is what I found:
- Students still did the “practice” assignments.
- when it came time for “Labs”, students did better. One student took 3/4 of the semester to understand Lab 1, but then finished the next four within a week.
- They really liked the instant feedback, and the in depth explanations on what they needed to improve. I was able to show them what they were doing wrong, and how to fix it. Students (especially the good ones) really wanted to know their grade, and didn’t know what to do without one.
- Most students still came to class, and they really liked the videos for working at home. Most of the views of my videos were not by people in my classes, or even in the US. I had nearly 10,000 views, only 35% were from the US, and 12% were from embedded players (I embedded videos in Moodle).
Back to the Intro to AutoCAD class. For the last several semesters I have started with 24 and ended with 15-17 enrolled and 10-15 students actually taking the practical final, of those 8-12 get >90%. This semester I have 21 enrolled and 20 took the practical. A quick look at the submissions leads me to believe around 15 will receive >90%.
I after the semester is over and I have final grades I will do a through analysis of the last several years for retention, grades on the practical, and final grades.