My Plan for TEL Practice Improvement

The following is a blog post that I completed for the Navitas Module: Reflecting on Technology-Enhanced Learning Practices. In it, I reflect on how we can enhance learning practices with the use of technology in a school like SAE Institute Paris, which exclusively aims to train students to become future professionals in the creative media industry, necessitating technology at every step of the way.

At SAE Institute Paris, we are lucky that the disciplines we specialize in already demand technology-enhanced learning practices. Clearly, it is impossible to teach a student to become an audio engineer, filmmaker, or video game creator without covering certain fundamental software and equipment. Therefore, despite typical resistance to more active learning practices, our courses are by nature interactive, project-based, and technology-enhanced.

That said, there is always room for improvement. As the Academic Coordinator, I’ve often found it ironic that our teaching staff of industry professionals, while technologically proficient, has been particularly resistant to making better use of our LMS (Canvas). Indeed, it was one of my first goals to implement this at a very basic level, by making sure students had an essential repository of information including pedagogical materials related to their coursework and their summative assessment guidelines. Now that this has been implemented, I intend to move beyond such basic measures and develop and implement a real LMS strategy for the school.

Based on Bennett’s Digital Practitioner Framework pyramid, our campus is somewhere between “Skills” and “Practices” in that we apply technology to learning, but not consistently and teachers are not currently making informed choices about how to use technologies. They use the technologies as necessary, but need to develop strategies to properly incorporate them into classes so that our students see the value in these pedagogical methods.

Through insights gained from participating in this course and from my interactions with fellow participants (which were unfortunately not as prolonged as I would have liked, given my delay in accessing the Moodle), I have seen that there is no “one size fits all” model for TEL practice improvement. Indeed, since the situation at SAE Institute is quite different from more traditional academic settings, I will need to be equally innovative in the TEL practices I try to promote. Given my own relatively “traditional” background, I’m hoping that by developing and implementing a proper LMS strategy for SAE Paris, I will be able to learn which types of TEL practices are most successful in various academic context and thereby be better prepared in my own teaching, curriculum design, and EdTech work outside of SAE.

McGraw Teaching Seminar: Course Assessment and Grading

Learning Goals

For this new session of the McGraw Teaching Seminar, we had to refine the novice learning goals we had drafted in November and come up with some sort of an assessment that would allow us to see if students met those goals. Our novice learning goals were originally: “Learn to construct an argument about literary texts through contextualization (historical, cultural). Language is a main problematic in teaching both.” Reflecting, we decided that our learning goals could be divided into three specific aspects:

  1. Contextualization: the student should be able to contextualize the text within historical, cultural, linguistic frames
  2. Text: the student should sympathetically engage with the text and understand it on multiple levels
  3. Argument: the student should interpret, appreciate, and evaluate

With this in mind, we refined our novice learning goals to the following short sentence: “Students will contextualize, engage with, and interpret texts.”


For the evaluation half of the assignment, rather than discussing an essay or final exam, we decided to develop a general rubric for a post/short response in the LMS in three parts:

  1. Identify the main problems the text deals with, with possible recourse to the historical and cultural context.
  2. Focus on a section of the text, looking specifically at language and rhetoric and the tools the author uses to accomplish what was said in part 1.
  3. Analyze the implications for the time in which the text was written and today.

When discussing what success would look like, we decided that the student should be able to use textual evidence in combination with analysis, persuasively arguing these three points, making cases for significance and fostering connections.

Our conversation also touched upon the difficulty of having a final exam in classes such as these. We decided that having the students carry out short, structured thinking exercises like these would allow for greater discussion in seminar-style classes. Furthermore, with such preparation, it would be possible to give an exercise like this as a final exam in addition to a final essay.

Seminar Discussion

Unsurprisingly, the seminar was about rubrics. When I was in school, rubrics were the bane of my existence. While based on good intentions, they often seemed reductive ways to understand assignments. In college and beyond, I rarely had rubrics and when I did, found that they often turned my experience of the assignment into a dry, uninteresting exercise that was a basic formality of the course.

That is why I was skeptical of this particular meeting, for which the follow-up assignment would be to create our own assignments and rubrics, which would be evaluated by my peers using a rubric for rubrics. That said, designing my assignment and rubric did force me to think more critically about my course goals and the purpose of the assignment itself. However, once I had designed an assignment that I thought was consistent with my course goals, I found that the rubric itself was almost superfluous.

In the end, perhaps rubrics are a useful exercise for teachers, but I am still not convinced that they bring out the best in our students. In the seminar, we had a heated discussion on the use of rubrics and everyone else seemed about as divided as I was. The readings for that session took the form of pseudo-scientific studies that raised more questions than they answered, and left many unimpressed. While I might steer clear of rubrics when I design and teach my first course, it is true that I learned a lot writing one.