So I’m doing the blog project in one section of Calculus for Life Science I, and so far, the students seems to really be embracing it.
I had five students transfer into the class after they heard that there was going to be a huge project worth 50% of the course grade, and that exams were going to be worth a total of 35%. I spoke to each of them, and made sure they were aware that this didn’t mean the class would be easier, and they would probably have to do more work rather than less. They still joined our class. (We also had two students who transferred out, one because he didn’t have the prerequisite).
So I have a lovely class of 17 students, most of whom seem enthusiastic about the blogging project, and at least for now, none of whom are resisting the idea of this nontraditional math assessment.
The blog project will be graded three times, at week 5, week 10, and week 15. I’m calling these “checkpoints” for lack of a better name. For the first checkpoint, students have to schedule a meeting with me to go over their blog. They have to have six posts by then, and they’ll have until the Monday of week 6 to make changes to improve their grade. So next week, I’ve got a bunch of student meetings to look forward to.
The grading scheme for this class is:
Blog Project Checkpoint 1 10%
Blog Project Checkpoint 2 15%
Blog Project Checkpoint 3 25%
Daily Grade Average 15%
Exam Average 25%
Final Exam 10%
One of the things that surprised me with the first time I did the blog project was how much students objected to getting letter grades for the project. So numerical grades it is. Not that I feel obligated to give them everything they prefer, but when I’m asking them to come this far out of their comfort zone, I can keep the superficials familiar.