Assessment challenge: How to manage the Mount Everest of grading in online (and face to face) environments

Pam acknowledged that within her Introduction and History of Planning (PLAN 501) course, she traditionally has done a mountain of grading including two major papers, evaluating presentations, and weekly reading responses (26 students x 13 weeks = lots of marking).  A discussion on this with colleague, Mark Holland, offered a lifeline. Mark suggested a means of reducing the mountain of marking mountain while creating even more dynamic interaction opportunities for students.

Solution: Grant more agency to students

Every week, each student writes three rich and robust discussion questions based on the readings, and submits them to the class.  Weekly facilitators (student groups) determine from those questions the top three to take up in a weekly discussion.  The discussion is meant to be hard-hitting and engaging, and there is a certain prestige involved in having your question chosen.  Student facilitators then run a seminar style discussion in Zoom, using breakout rooms for smaller groups and having reporters from each group share out during the follow-up discussion.  Students receive a pass/fail grade for submitting their questions to VIULearn and a general participation mark for the term, which includes participating in these and other class discussions.