Another dot in the blogosphere?

Cheat code

Posted on: September 3, 2017

Justin Tarte put more plainly and eloquently what I illustrate and say to some groups of future educators.

What I do as part of some workshops is get future faculty to experience and evaluate individual and group-based quizzes using multiple-choice questions. The individual quizzes are stressful and the norm of schools and higher education. The group-based quizzes are fun, challenging, enriching, and an eye-opener for future faculty.

What I say when we rise above the activity is: What the rest of the world calls collaboration or normal work, schools and universities call cheating. If we claim to be preparing students for work, why do we perpetuate this disconnect?

The norm outside much of schooling and higher education is to “cheat” in formal or informal teams by collaborating, accessing, and connecting. The common tool for doing this is the phone. This is the very same object whose presence is still frowned upon in classrooms.

So what is a change agent or future faculty to do? I recommend that they not try to take on the system by fighting individual-based quizzes and exams. Instead, they might consider how team-based quizzes might be used during tutorials, laboratory and studio sessions, and even lectures. These then become opportunities for students to get formative feedback and to learn by peer teaching.

My recommendation is a cheat code. In video games, a cheat code is applied to make a boss or challenge easier to deal with. Sometimes it unlocks new abilities. In pedagogical design, it allows an educator to change a system insidiously from within.

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