There are a couple of things I feel would increase everyone’s participation and the quality of the participation.
- The site needs to be greatly improved. There are many glitches – sometimes a comment does not submit at all and disappears into the void and we have to start our thoughts all over again, the website is extremely slow (I once waited 11 min for a star rating to register), and the website does not allow access to older comments when there are a lot of comments. I once tried to refer back to a post I made really early on, only to discover that it no longer showed up on the page. Clicking ‘load more’ did nothing.
- The star rating should be hidden until the user has contributed their own rating. It is difficult not to let the existing average star rating to sway our own analysis.
- There needs to be clearer criteria for everything. A lot of the time, I am guessing what the expectations are because the assignment outlines are very vague. For example, if the criteria is to critically assess a venture, not everyone knows what that means. I have zero background in business and marketing so I had to ask a lot of people to explain to me what it is that makes a venture great. Another example, my group spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the purpose of an OER is. Not a lot of structure was given so we debated on what it is exactly we needed to include. There needs to be a rubric for large projects so that students understand what is expected. When a criteria is given, let’s say it’s worth 7/25 marks, it is not clear where exactly those 7 marks come from. I had to look at submissions from previous terms to figure out what it is that I’m supposed to be creating, and that has its own pitfalls. Because I don’t know what mark those previous submissions received, I really had no idea if what I’m looking at is excellent or just passing. I lost some marks on my A2 because I didn’t include something that I didn’t see in the samples I looked at. Another example, the criteria for the pitch reviews mention that our reviews should be no more than 300 words total. Is that 300 words per review, or 300 words total for all three reviews?
- Criteria for things need to be more easily found. Sometimes the criteria are buried somewhere. For example, I did not know that there was going to be a review of everyone’s pitches until I saw a post in the forums and received an email about it. I did not know that there were guidelines for the review process until one of my OER members stumbled upon the page somewhere. I had expected the guidelines to be filed under the Assignments tab where the criteria for A1, A2, A3, and A4 were at, but they were not. I think other students have difficulty getting organized too because not everyone is responding to the pitches starting with FEEDBACK or REVIEW, indicating that not many people have read those guidelines. Another example, some people I have talked to did not realize that they had to participate in the discussions on all the OER’s. They only realized that they had to when they eventually found that they needed to assess their peer’s participation on their own OER’s.