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Flight Engineer Tracy_Baker Flight Engineer
Flight Engineer
  • 1,588 Views

How do you handle academic assessments?

Since this is the Red Hat Academy section, I am assuming that most people who participate here are teachers at colleges and universities. I am wondering...

We know that the curriculum/course content from Red Hat (that which is available via the Gilmore Global and NDG partners) was designed for the enterprise training environment. As a result, the only real assessment that takes place is at the end of the training: does the student pass the certification exam or not?

Also keep in mind that the existing Red Hat lab assignments not only tell the students what to do, they also tell the student how to do it.

In my academic world, I need meaningful and measurable assessments along the way. I cannot simply wait until the end and give a final exam. (Additionally, I cannot require my students to take the official certification exam. Neither can I require them to report to me their success or failure if they do take it.)

Early on, I would assign all the end-of-chapter labs and the comprehensive review (at the end of RH124, RH134 and RH254) for grades. What I found was that most of the students weren’t learning the material. They were taking the easy way out; they were either copying and pasting the answers into the CLI or simply retyping them. All they were learning was how to follow directions. No critical thinking or problem solving was taking place.

(Yes, I do have other materials that I use to assess. However, I found, after passing my own RHCSA exam, that the three Red Hat comprehensive review labs are excellent for helping the students prepare for their own exams. Additionally, the end-of-chapter labs provide a good scaffolding path leading up to the comprehensive labs.)

My solution was to rewrite all of the end-of-chapter and comprehensive review labs to remove the “how-to” steps. I kept the same instructions and, where provided, the grading scripts. I took the opportunity to combine the NDG and DIY lab instructions into a single set (although they’re the same labs, they’re slightly different in the way they’re written). I also added a few steps here and there, mainly to get the students used to checking their own work as they went through the lab (e.g.: after they create a user or group, have them verify that the user or group was actually created by the system). Finally, in some cases, I added additional steps they had to do before submitting their results.

Whew…  After that wall of text, I have these questions:

If you teach in an academic environment, how do you handle assessments when it comes to lab work? Do you use Red Hat’s labs? Do you use your own?

Program Lead at Arizona's first Red Hat Academy, est. 2005
Estrella Mountain Community College
9 Replies
Joel Cadet
Cadet
  • 1,575 Views

Re: How do you handle academic assessments?

Tracy_Baker,

That's a great idea. Any chance of sharing that?

-- Joel

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Flight Engineer Tracy_Baker Flight Engineer
Flight Engineer
  • 1,513 Views

Re: How do you handle academic assessments?

@Joel

I am considering sharing them with the RHA people I'm in contact with at Red Hat (Trisha and Lauren).

I'd rather they were not shared out to the population at large -- there may be issues with doing that because I took NDG's instructions and modified those.

If I do share with them, they can make the decision, through their processes, to make them available to RHA people.

Program Lead at Arizona's first Red Hat Academy, est. 2005
Estrella Mountain Community College
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Twan Cadet
Cadet
  • 1,541 Views

Re: How do you handle academic assessments?

Hi all

We are just starting out as a Red Hat Academy. I had more or less the same thoughts concerning assessment. I solved it on short term by rewriting all the practice exercises. Essentially I left out the part on the How-To. Where I thought it was necessary to provide some more context, I expanded the question with some "tips" on how to solve. Eventually, when there is more time, I plan on coming up with my own.

Cheers

Antonio

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Flight Engineer DavidH Flight Engineer
Flight Engineer
  • 1,494 Views

Re: How do you handle academic assessments?

That is a great question. My college just became a red hat academy last year, and I was tasked with converting our three linux courses to become alligned with rh124/134/254. I too did not like the idea of having "easy" labs because of the copy/paste issue you mentioned. Because I already had coursework existing from the previous classes (based on Fedora, no less) I was able to make the book labs required, but just for practice. I still had "original" material that I tweaked to follow the books. I also created a end of semester "skills final" that is based off the final chapter's comprehensive review. It was a lot of work, but to teach these courses in an entire semester when they were developed for 5 days, deemed necessary. Luckily we now have a great website to converse about such things!

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Shawn_KY Cadet
Cadet
  • 1,483 Views

Re: How do you handle academic assessments?

I am currently teaching Linux courses that are agnostic in nature and using TestOut and a CompTIA Linux Study guide at the moment. We have recently become a Red Hat Academy but still must go through the course approval process. I've had the same thoughts and questions about how to or even what to grade in a course like this where in most instances the work is given with answers already there. Currently, I am project based to some extent in my Part 2 class so with it, I have the students setting up various systems and services from the ground up. Over and over and over, throughout the semester, so eventually, they become pretty good with it. I am anxious to see what types of changes will need made in order to properly align with this curriculum. There is a chance we may keep both programs, with one being for the enterprise linux side of things and the other as it is now.

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BrianTheWall Flight Engineer
Flight Engineer
  • 1,295 Views

Re: How do you handle academic assessments?

I had the same questions as yourself and thise above, about how to get measured results from quizzes,,exams and projects. The Redhat, NDG materail is created & designed to give repetitive practice to the student. Based onnthe feedback on here, It seems modifying the available material to create some quizzes and final reviews are going to be the best way to gain measurable results. Thanks for sharing your info.
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dennisk Flight Engineer
Flight Engineer
  • 1,262 Views

Re: How do you handle academic assessments?

I try to focus on showing students how to check their work by asking for a screenshot of the output of a command such as chage for accounf expiry info or egrep ^PermitRootLogin no /etc/ssh/sshd_config to show that the comment character was removed from the start of the line in addition to the permission being changed to no.. It's a skill they will need in the workplace or siting for the certification exam.

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mgarber Mission Specialist
Mission Specialist
  • 1,017 Views

Re: How do you handle academic assessments?

I'm an adjunct instructor at a technical college and I'm having students download Vagrant boxes running on top of Oracle Virtual Box.  I'm teaching the RH124 as an on-line courses.  There are 7 students in the course and I have them send me either screen shots of their terminal window showing a limited number of steps of the RH124 labs or record their interaction with the script utility. I then use the scriptreplay utility to see what they typed and how quickly they are doing it.  I do add notes on modifications to the RH124 labs to meet the constraints of the format that I've adopted.

I had a few labs prior to using the text where students practice making recording such as  echo "Hello World" and then use scriptreplay to verify their recording.  There is a slight bug in the script utility but there is a workaround. 

(See man script for more information)

The course is done over Blackboard and I have on-line trouble shooting sessions using Blackboard's collaborate function where I can follow the student as they are presenting their issue.

Students are credited for script recordings (which I can replay with scriptreplay) or screen shots.  The screen shots must contain a prompt showing the student's lastname (see man hostnamectl).  They receive 100% for turning in the assignments on time and are penalized 20% for late assignments.  There is a drop dead date and no credit. 

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BrianTheWall Flight Engineer
Flight Engineer
  • 999 Views

Re: How do you handle academic assessments?

Lovely feedback. For the RH124: What I have now done is to recreate the NDG Labs Final Chapter Review in a MS Word document. I have removed the answers. I have also removed the questions that need to be “lab graded” since those often fail for one reason or the other. Quite often the graded labs fail saying “contact your system administrator” which means I have to reset the classroom server. So I use this Word document with no answers as a paper print out to the students as either a final exam at the end of my Redhat RH124 tutoring; or as a study guide. As they do each exercise; I tell them to also type the answers into a *.txt file on their Redhat workstation. They then copy that .txt file to a thumb drive and submit to me for grading. Upon completion of the training my department issues each student a printed Certificate of Completion for the class. It builds morale & gives them the sense of accomplishment. I then ask them to commit to self study some more; in preparation for sitting the EX200 exam.

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