Learning & Assessing Through Seminars  Preparing Students for Seminar Type of Learning & Assessment



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Learning & Assessing Through Seminars
Preparing Students for Seminar Type of Learning & Assessment

  • discuss with students the elements of a successful seminar

  • recall the worst seminar they have ever attended and discuss how to avoid the poor acts

  • discuss who is responsible for the success of a seminar

  • to determine how the successful seminar elements may be used as criteria for assessment, the weightings as well as the process for assessing



Roles for Presenting Students

  • Take up different perspectives (e.g. historical, ethical, economic, global perspectives)

  • Take up different higher-order thinking skills (e.g. application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation)

  • Design different types of questions (e.g. fact-based, opinion-based, case-history-based, comparison-based)

  • Take up different roles during seminar (e.g. leader/spokesperson, manager, note-taker, processor: coordinate interaction between groups & monitor seminar dynamics, summarizer)

From Cuseo (1999)
Presenting Students’ Plans

  • Objectives

  • Methods to present

  • Methods to stimulate / proceed discussion

  • A list of direct questions for discussion

  • Time frame & sequence: introduction, presentation, discussion, summary, (feedback/evaluation)



Presentation Handouts:

  • Key points

  • A passage or quotations to be discussed

  • A set of opposing arguments to be debated

  • A set of questions (with spaces for listening students to write answers)

  • Tables for listening students to list pros/cons, advantages/disadvantages, cost/outcomes etc.

  • Problems, issues to explore

  • Calculations, equations etc. to work at to facilitate discussion

  • Relate all questions and information to the objectives of the seminar topic.

Assessment Categories

  • Clear voice

  • Appropriate pace

  • Appropriate use of multi-media and handouts

  • Material clearly explained

  • Appropriate coverage of topic

  • Good depth and integration of information

  • Critical appreciation of subject

  • Well structured and logical in sequence

  • Appropriate introduction (purpose), summary and conclusion

  • Stimulated discussion

  • Appropriate lead of discussion

  • Responded well to questions From Mick (1991)

  • Appropriate conclusion drawn from seminar discussion


Role of Listening Students

Before & during seminar:



  • What to get out from the seminar?

  • What to contribute to the seminar?

  • What to prepare to achieve all these?

  • How to maintain concentration and interest?

  • How to overcome shyness, over-domination, irresponsive comments …

After seminar:

  • What new insights have been gained?

  • What constructive comments/feedback to give?

More Resources:



http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/webb/GoodSeminars.htm

http://arts.uwaterloo.ca/~lwarley/documents/seminarsSpring2004.pdf

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=cache:SoH7SShKfkEJ:www.student.uwa.edu.au/~nmjedi/projects/sc405/as6.pdf+bad+seminars

A Case for Discussion
A seminar led by Group A: John, Karen, Jim and Susan for the course Social Policies in HK



  1. After stating the seminar topic “Pollution in Hong Kong”, John goes right into some

  2. abstract definitions of the problem and gives a number of equations on calculating the

  3. indexes of pollution of various kinds. The listening students have no background of such

  4. technical knowledge. But John seems to be very keen in displaying how sophisticated the

  5. calculations could be. He gives out handouts on the formulas and index information.




  1. Karen helps John to illustrate the details of the formulas on power point. A number

  2. of symbols appear in the formulas but they are not explained. Karen posts up more slides

  3. that explain fully the pollution indexes on different levels of warnings. The explanation is

  4. actually paragraphs of information that seem to be taken straight out of a paper. Since the

  5. information is so abundant, the listening students have to make very swift switches

  6. between listening to John and reading the slides. Indeed, John has to speak, actually to

  7. read, very fast to cover all the information shown on the slides.




  1. Jim’s turn is to illustrate the pollution in Hong Kong with pictures of filthy and

  2. disgusting scenes. He adds flavors to the slide show by giving out unpleasant sounds and

  3. expressions whenever new pictures are shown. The listening students respond with laughs

  4. and echoes. The only comment that Jims gives is that the pollution in Hong Kong is very

  5. bad and the slides are very good evidence.




  1. Susan comes up after Jim to ask if there are any questions from the listening

  2. students. One student asks which of the pollution pictures illustrates the highest level of

  3. pollution. Jim quickly finds out the slide and, trying to make the atmosphere more fun,

  4. says it is very obvious even for a child to recognize the picture that shows the most

  5. polluted situation. Another student asks if she does not know the pollution index, is it wise

  6. for her to report pollution to the government and advise on the matter. John responds

  7. saying scientific data are absolutely important to back up advice and says that he will teach

  8. the student how to do the calculations again after the seminar. A student picks up the

  9. argument and comments that he would like to know more about Hong Kong policies

  10. regarding pollution, not just indexes. John responds that there is not enough time for them

  11. to cover such things in the short seminar.




  1. There are no more questions from the listening students and the seminar is finished,

  2. leaving 10 minutes assigned time unused.

What is your idea about student-led seminars?



      1. How would you grade the seminar performance of Group A?

      2. How would you grade the participation of the listening students?

      3. How would you grade the supervision of the teacher?

      4. What suggestions would you give to Group A to improve their performance?


A pro-forma is suggested on the next page for you to grade Group A.

Note that the last component “Significant Skills Required for the Course” varies among disciplines.



  • For example, the law discipline may require their students to hold strong opinions and collect evidence to argue against the case for one side rather to balance pros and cons. And the qualities of students would be the use of strong verbal leads rather than coordinating discussion.

  • You may need to modify the list to accommodate the qualities and skills that are significant to your subject discipline.

You may also make use of the case of Group A to teach your students the important features, performance requirements, and even evaluation criteria about seminars.


Step 1: Students study the case individually and then give grades on the pro-forma.

Step 2: Get students to discuss about the components of the pro-forma and compare the

grades they give to the case.

Step 3: Clarify the components to students and formulate “together” the components and

weightings.

Step 4: Get students to recommend improvements for Group A.




Pro-forma for evaluating seminar performance


Components of Seminar Performance

Grade & Weighting

Content

  • Topic well defined

  • Clear purpose & objectives

  • Good structure with introduction, main body, & conclusion

  • Logical in sequence / good development of topic

  • Appropriate depth / good coverage of topic

  • Good integration of information

  • Critical appreciation of topic

  • Problems well framed

  • Others __________________________________

Comments:

Grade _________

Grade x Weighting _____


Delivery

  • Clear voice

  • Appropriate pace

  • Key points clearly explained

  • Appropriate use of multi-media & handouts

  • Others _________________________________

Comments:

Grade ________

Grade x Weighting _____


Collaboration & Discussion

  • Discussion questions / activities well prepared

  • Appropriate stimulation of discussion

  • Appropriate lead of discussion

  • Good monitoring & coordination of group interaction / discussion

  • Respond well to questions

  • Appropriate conclusion drawn from seminar discussion

  • New insights generated from discussion

  • Leadership / collaboration observed

  • Others _________________________________

Comments:

Grade _________

Grade x Weighting _____


Significant Skills Required for the Course

  • Good exploration of social issues / problems

  • Good consideration of pros/cons, advantages/disadvantages, cost/outcomes etc.

  • Good consideration of different perspectives

  • Good digging /use of relevant information & data for analysis

  • Able to accept opposing viewpoints for discussion

  • Able to point out personal limitations

  • Able to propose reasonable solutions / insights

  • Others _________________________________

Comments :

Grade _________

Grade x Weighting _____


Improvement recommendations for Group A for the course Social Policies in HK



  1. After stating the seminar topic “Pollution in Hong Kong”, John goes right into some

  2. abstract definitions of the problem and gives a number of equations on calculating the

  3. indexes of pollution of various kinds. The listening students have no background of such

  4. technical knowledge. But John seems to be very keen in displaying how sophisticated the

  5. calculations could be. He gives out handouts on the formulas and index information.

  6. Karen helps John to illustrate the details of the formulas on power point. A number

  7. of symbols appear in the formulas but they are not explained. Karen posts up more slides

  8. that explain fully the pollution indexes on different levels of warnings. The explanation is

  9. actually paragraphs of information that seem to be taken straight out of a paper. Since the

  10. information is so abundant, the listening students have to make very swift switches

  11. between listening to John and reading the slides. Indeed, John has to speak, actually to

  12. read, very fast to cover all the information shown on the slides.

  13. Jim’s turn is to illustrate the pollution in Hong Kong with pictures of filthy and

  14. disgusting scenes. He adds flavors to the slide show by giving out unpleasant sounds and

  15. expressions whenever new pictures are shown. The listening students respond with laughs

  16. and echoes. The only comment that Jims gives is that the pollution in Hong Kong is very

  17. bad and the slides are very good evidence.

  18. Susan comes up after Jim to ask if there are any questions from the listening

  19. students. One student asks which of the pollution pictures illustrates the highest level of

  20. pollution. Jim quickly finds out the slide and, trying to make the atmosphere more fun,

  21. says it is very obvious even for a child to recognize the picture that shows the most

  22. polluted situation. Another student asks if she does not know the pollution index, is it wise

  23. for her to report pollution to the government and advise on the matter. John responds

  24. saying scientific data are absolutely important to back up advice and says that he will teach

  25. the student how to do the calculations again after the seminar. A student picks up the

  26. argument and comments that he would like to know more about Hong Kong policies

  27. regarding pollution, not just indexes. John responds that there is not enough time for them

  28. to cover such things in the short seminar.

  29. There are no more questions from the listening students and the seminar is finished,

  30. leaving 10 minutes assigned time unused.



Your Ideas About Student-Led Seminars


  1. Do you agree that seminars should be marked? Why?




  1. Other than setting ground rules for seminars, what else would you do to educate students about seminars before getting students to work for seminars?




  1. Briefly, what are the successful elements of seminars? And, what makes them unsuccessful?




  1. What kinds of roles can students of the presenting group take up for collaborative work when they prepare for seminars?




  1. What kinds of roles can students of the presenting group take when they conduct the seminars?




  1. What suggestions would you give the presenting group when they make their plan for conducting their seminar?




  1. What would you suggest to be included in the handouts?




  1. How can the listening students benefit from seminars? What do they need to prepare and do?




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