For both students and instructors, major writing research projects are problematic: they're especially difficult for students who lack strong writing skills, and they difficult for instructors in the time it takes to grade the projects. After several semesters grading a major APA-style career research 5-7 page paper for CPD 150, I was disappointed in student scores (especially in grammar), and I never looked forward to the amount of time I knew it would take me to grade all of the papers. It was time to "build a better mousetrap"! I changed the Career Research Paper to the Career Research Prezi. In doing so, I found a 15% increase in the average student's grade, and my time in correcting the project was reduced by more that 50%. This was a win-win solution!
Great idea Jill! I totally felt your pain as I spent hours grading those career papers. I too switched to a similar idea. I had students work in groups based on their career interests and develop a prezi as well. Then they presented their prezi as a group to the class. It was a win-win as you mentioned. No more hours of grading but still had the aspects we were wanting them to achieve such as researching a career based on assessments and other research.
I also feel your pain, and I truly appreciate your innovation in addressing it. But, removing writing assignments from our writing-deficient students will not solve the problem for them. Two things I have done to lessen my "pain" yet hold them accountable on writing assignments is to require them to first submit their papers to the Writing Center. The other thing I do is make "Conventions" only part of their grade, and I rate them on a 5 point scale from "College level conventions" to "Multiple errors in conventions interfere with comprehension of the assignment." This way they are still assigned a needed writing project, I grade without marking every error, and conventions are only one part of their grade. And, they are aware that this is a problem they need to continually address.
Pete, I have always required the Writing Center to be used for the career research project, and it did not always offer the help that many students needed as the tutors there are usually not English teachers and were not able to catch many of the errors. I also used a rubric in grading that set aside a limited number of points for writing conventions. However, as a former high school English teacher, I did painstakingly mark every error hoping that students would learn from their mistakes. What I found instead was students looking only at the grade, and not the corrections. It was so discouraging that I finally saved myself the grief and went to the Prezi. Hopefully, the college level English classes will give the students the feedback they need to be successful writers. I determined that I WAS NOT THEIR ENGLISH TEACHER. In making this choice to adopt a simpler writing syle, students could be successful in both their presentation and in what I hoped they learned about career research.
Jill - I had the same comment that Pete made about taking writing out (it is so important), BUT, I also understand your response to him. If the main purpose of the assignment is to do Career Research and present it, then a Prezi is a great solution. If the main purpose is to see if students can use APA style, then Prezi also hits this. Great job!
Great idea!! So many students love to use creative ways to express themselves!! Great way to engage our students in the career exploration process and review!!!
Great way to have a bigger impact and get all the students thru the assignment.