Published on February 27, 2014
How To Write Distance Learning In-Text Questions (ITQs) and Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) A guide for Distance Learning Authors Schulportals Technologies Ltd.
Self-Assessment Distance learning modules include two types of ‘self tests’ (questions and answers): These are ITQs and SAQs Students check their own learning by answering correctly. Incorrect answers alert them about what to study again.
In-Text Questions (ITQs) Can occur at any point in the ‘main text’ of the study session (not at the end) The answer always follows directly after the question Answers say what a good student could really write, based on material in current or previous study sessions Never introduce new teaching points in an ITQ answer
The role of ITQs is to: 1. Engage students in active thinking – wake them up! 2. Give them a brief mental ‘break’ from passive reading 3. Focus their attention on a key point in the study session 4. Remind them of a key point from a previous session 5. Create the feeling that you are talking directly to them 6. Break up large blocks of text that may look intimidating
ITQs can focus attention on a key point Q. Look at Figure 8.2 on newborn resuscitation. Which of the three drawings shows the correct size and position of the mask on the baby’s face? What is wrong in the other two drawings? A. (a) is correct. It shows the mask covering the baby’s mouth, nose and chin, but not the eyes. In (b) the mask is too large; it covers the edges of the eyes and extends below the chin. In (c) the mask is too small; it does not cover the baby’s nose and mouth completely.
ITQs can recall an earlier key point Q. In Study Session X you learned why you should strongly discourage HIV-positive mothers from giving mixed feeding before their baby is 6 months old. How could mixed feeding increase the risk of HIV transmission from mother to baby? A. Porridge, cows or goats milk, and other foods given to young babies, may irritate the baby’s intestine and make it more susceptible to HIV in breast milk getting into the baby’s blood circulation.
ITQs can also create the feeling that you are ‘talking’ to students Q. Suggest three ways you could begin to establish trust when you arrive at a house for the first postnatal visit. A. These are probable few ways out of many. Smile and greet people using the local terms Explain to everyone why you have come Give time for general conversation first Ask about the well being of the mother and baby respectfully
Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) Appear at the end of the study session. The model answers are ‘hidden’ at the end of the Module Every Learning Outcome must have at least one SAQ that tests it Good SAQs often test more than one Learning Outcome simultaneously, integrating topics from across the session Answering SAQs enables students to check their own progress in achieving the Learning Outcomes
Variety in styles of SAQs supports learning Setting different SAQ styles is more interesting to students than just asking them to ‘recall facts’ Interested students are more motivated to attempt the SAQs genuinely Motivated students are more successful learners If they get an SAQ wrong, they are more likely to study the material again to find the correct answer Answering SAQs correctly builds confidence
The Case Study SAQ style Begin with a realistic ‘short story’ of a case: Followed by a series of short questions: e.g. What could you say to reassure Mrs X? What dose of misoprostol should Mrs Z be given? Why was Mrs B given iron tablets? Identify the danger signs in Baby A’s case. What is the first thing you would do to help Baby P? Is 40 breaths per minute fast breathing for Child D?
False statements SAQ style Which of the following statements is false? In each case explain why it is incorrect. (a)Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is the single most important cause of maternal mortality (b)Infection is not a major cause of PPH (c)PPH can progress from hypertension even if no protein in the urine and no swelling of the hands, feet or face (d)Women with a previous caesarean section have the same risk of PPH as other multigravidas.
SAQs can be based on diagrams Look at the partograph in Figure 4.2. Describe the progress of this labour in terms of (a) The dilatation of the cervix, and (b) the fetal heart rate. (c) Would you refer this woman to the nearest health facility? Say why, or why not. OR Figure 9.3 is a diagram of the respiratory tract with the labels removed. Write the name of the anatomical structure beside each of the arrows. OR Is the mother in Figure 11.5 holding her baby in a good position for successful breastfeeding? Say why or why not.
SAQs can ask for diagrams Draw a flow chart showing the points at which HIV may be transmitted from mother to baby. Add arrows at the points where you could intervene to reduce the risk of MTCT. Label each arrow to show what you would do. OR Draw a flow chart showing the steps you should take in making a referral. OR Draw and label a diagram of the fetal skull, showing the main sutures.
Make ‘recall facts’ SAQs interesting! DULL ... What does placenta praevia mean? INTERESTING ... How could placenta praevia cause prolonged or obstructed labour? What should you do if you suspect that a woman has placenta praevia? DULL ... List the key signs of postnatal depression. INTERESTING ... Write a short case study (no more than 60 words) describing Mrs X who shows all the key signs of postnatal depression. DULL ... Define low birth weight in a newborn at 32 weeks. INTERESTING ... Baby X was born at 32 weeks gestational age. He weighed 2000 gm. How do you classify his birth weight?
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