I teach in a field where students need to learn and demonstrate practical helping skills (e.g. interpersonal communication). If you’re in the same boat, here are some ideas to weave the practical application of skills into your HyFlex courses:
Student Recordings of Skill Usage. Arrange for students to record a demonstration of their skills using their cell phones. It can help to record an example video of your expectations. I like to ask students to reflect on how they think they did 1) after creating the recording and 2) after watching the recording to see whether their initial thoughts were aligned with what they observed.
Cultivate a Bank of Student Videos. I like to ask my students for consent to share video demonstrations of practical skills with future cohorts. This provides students with exposure to different styles and can also serve as a critical reflection activity for future cohorts.
Peer Feedback of Demo Videos. In addition to self-critique, I ask students to view their peers’ videos (with consent). Feedback can be done in a variety of ways, including writing a reflection (e.g. analysing the students’ skill demonstration compared to their own). If you want feedback to be shared among peers, ease them into this e.g. provide an example video/write-up of what the feedback should look like. It can also be helpful to start small with simple feedback to help build trust and rapport. Reviewing confidentiality guidelines can be helpful to cultivate a safe sharing environment.
Synchronous Sessions. Some skills are assessed more effectively in real-time. Even though I teach in a HyFlex program, I have certain times blocked off where I require students to be present synchronously for this very reason. Students tend to be okay with this because 1) they understand the importance of feedback when they are learning how to help others and they are genuinely interested in becoming an effective helper and 2) I give them advanced notice and I work with them to find alternative dates and times if needed. The flexibility component is therefore still very much present.
Virtual Simulations. I create various virtual simulations using Google slides. The simulations have included videotaped content of realistic scenarios students might encounter in the field. I then embed activities throughout the slides depending on what I want to assess. There are also simulations that can be found online depending on what skill you are teaching.
What do you do to incorporate assessment of practical skills? Let’s cultivate an inventory of more ideas!