A Bit on Backwards Design and Assessment

Last week I had the privilege of presenting at the North Carolina Library Association’s College & University Section and Community & Junior College Libraries Section‘s Assessment Beyond Statistics conference.

It’s a really good local conference, that is centrally located for the state, that shifts topics a bit each year to remain relevant to the two core sections’ interests. A few years ago I was invited to give the keynote when the topic was instruction. This year, we enjoyed a presentation given by Duke’s Head of Assessment and PlanningYvonne Belanger. She gave an excellent presentation outlining how we should shift our thinking from reporting on decontextualized numbers to doing new types of assessment that allow us to tell the library’s story.

My part in the day was presenting on using Backwards Design principles in developing teaching and learning environments for students–from traditional one-shots to how to develop the website and spaces. Here’s my talk:

I actually put more words on the slides than I normally do, so you might actually be able to make sense of it without additional notes.
The 30,000 foot takeaway is that we will always do better at whatever we’re trying to do if we stop and first think about what it is we want to do. Nothing particularly revolutionary there, yet it’s something we, in education, forget to do enough that Backwards Design has become a thing.
I have the best of intentions for blogging–my “blog ideas” notebook in evernote is getting to be a bit overwhelming. But between updating a strategic instruction plan, overhauling course evaluation, coming up with new ways to assess learning in our programs, teaching a new version of our class, and a bunch of “extracurricular” library projects going on, I just haven’t been by the computer as much lately. But once all those things wrap up, expect posts about them! :)
My name is Lauren Pressley. This is where I think out loud, document what I'm doing, and share the things that I like. I'm the Director for Learning Environments at Virginia Tech University Libraries and author of a few books. This blog focuses on libraries, education, information, & the internet. When not at work or blogging, I spend most of my time with John and our son, Leif.

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