I very quickly realized that my new course (Digital History) will be closely scrutinized by my colleagues to see how successful it actually is. Several actually said to me "It will be interesting to see if kids take your new class." Its first hurdle was enrollment, for academic load reasons, I am scheduled to teach 3 sections of it, one that meets Mondays at 9, another at 9 on Wednesdays, and the final one Fridays at 9. Each section is limited to 8 people due to the size of our departmental computer lab. As expected, Monday filled up quickly, then Wednesday. Friday took awhile, but also filled up.
My next thought was – how do I measure what they learn? I decided to administer a pretest that measured their digital knowledge. Deciding to do that was an easy decision – creating one has proven to be a much more difficult task. I honestly figured that with a little looking I could find a version on-line to use as a template to create mine. Once I started searching, however, I found lots of computer or digital information tests and realized that my test could be about 1000 questions long since I wanted to test many different areas. My first thought was to test on hardware, basic software packages (Word, Excel, Access, etc.), specialized software (GIS, museum software, etc.), Internet work (Wikis, web design, SL, etc.), and information literacy. Several of the tests I found included activities where the students had to open files, create documents, and work with various file formats. While I like this, I am not sure I will use this, but we will find out later today. After I finish it and give it next week to the students, I will post it here for feedback.