Today I gave my presentation on “Assessing Student Projects Using Virtual Poster Sessions”. In this presentation, I demonstrated how you can use posters to assess student learning on projects in Business Calculus. The beauty of this technique is that it does not require any special technology to do. Most of your students have access to the tools they need to create the posters like Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. And you probably use a learning management system and a tool that you can use to create PDF files. That and a little organization can get you on your way to using projects and research posters in your class.
In this presentation, I referenced several projects that I use in Survey of Calculus (Business Calculus).
- Medical Insurance 3 Project
- Solar Toasters Project
- Total Cost to Produce Turbo Blenders Project
- Lake Pollution Project
These four projects are the major assessments in my business calculus classes, online or face-to-face.
In the presentation I focused on the Medical Insurance Project. I have made other presentations on this project at other conferences.
This was the original approach to this project and does not describe some of the updated technology assignments.
I am currently developing resources for faculty on research posters, but I have a page on my student resource website on creating a research poster.
Students use this information and the sample poster below to create the poster for the project.
You can click on this image for a larger PDF version of the poster. This sample is from College Algebra and is unrelated to the Medical Insurance Poster. However, the mathematics are not challenging and it gives the students an idea of what is expected in their final poster.
Finally, I showed the audience the guidelines I use to grade the posters with. My original guidelines were based on problem solving guidelines from the Northwest Regional Education Laboratory.
- Mathematics Problem Solving Guidelines (PDF)
I liked these guidelines a lot because it got to the heart of how well students were solving real world problems. However, after many years of using this set of guidelines I realized that giving students scores on Conceptual Understanding, Strategies and Reasoning, Computation and Execution, Communication, and Insights did not help them to improve in those areas. They did not really understand what these terms meant even when I distributed the guidelines to them.
My students needed a more concrete version of these guidelines that instantly directed them to the portion of their poster that needed improvement. I took the guidelines above and adapted them so that they now earn score on their Introduction, Methods, results and Discussion section. I also give them a score on Communication.
As described in the presentation, I have students peer review each other’s posters in the learning management system I use. Once this review is complete, they submit a final version of the research poster. It is this version that I apply the scoring guidelines to.