CC instructors develop app for students

College teachers know how tests relate to the goals of a particular class. After all, they invest a lot of time and energy creating classes and designing tests along the way. But, students often miss the connection.

To address this gap, two Centralia College instructors, Alisha Williams (English) and Gordon Gul (Computer Science), built an app that gives students a visual representation of their skills, allowing them to see exactly how they’re doing in a class and what they need to work on to improve their grades.

Williams and Gul won the 2017 Connie Broughton Leadership and Innovation in eLearning Award from the Washington State eLearning Council for their app.

“We wanted to help students focus more on achieving the course outcomes, so we decided to link the things they are learning to the grades they are earning.” said Gul. “We needed a way to show students the correlation between their skills performance and their score on an assignment or quiz.”

The result is an interactive app called Grade Outcomes Assessment Learning Strategy or GOALS, that utilizes the Canvas online learning platform to access course information to create a sleek, color-coded, interactive chart.

The chart is built around a bulls-eye center where the student’s current grade is displayed. Each sector of the chart represents a skill taught in the class, and each individual segment shows whether the student has achieved mastery of that skill as it applies to a particular assignment or quiz.

Clicking on any segment of the chart will take students directly back to a specific assignment in Canvas, where they can view instructor feedback. If the instructor allows, students may then revise and resubmit their work to potentially improve the assignment score.

Instructors can use the app to see the progress of individual students or the class as a whole. This feedback tells the instructor how the class is performing on any given task. If several students are showing low scores in a certain skill, the instructor may wish to spend more time covering that topic before moving on.

As an added bonus, the app has a built-in alert system that allows the instructor to set “intervention” levels. For example, the instructor can set an if a student’s grade falls below 2.5. This might prompt the instructor to initiate a conversation with the student about tutoring or other academic support options.

Gul and Williams plan to make the GOALS app available in June.

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