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"Exam Wrappers" as a Tool for Helping Students Develop Metacognitive Skills

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Our study suggested that blended learning was successful in part because faculty used the online materials to provide students with more opportunities for formative assessment. In the best cases, these included exercises designed to help students develop metacognitive skills, or the skills needed to judge their own learning and the effectiveness of their learning strategies, and identify things they can do to improve. In a recent edition of the faculty development mailing list Tomorrow's Professor, Rick Reis introduces us to Marsha Lovett's concept of "exam wrappers," or short metacognitive exercises for students to complete shortly before and after an exam to get them thinking critically and integratively about their preparation, their performance, and the instructor's feedback. In the article, these are described primarily as in-class and/or on-paper exercises, but they could just as easily be adapted as online exercises for a blended course.

Marsha Lovett is a Teaching Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University and Director of the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence. A podcast and slides of a broader presentation on "Teaching Metacognition" at EDUCAUSE 2008 are archived here. A helpful textual summary, which includes examples of "homework wrappers" and "lecture wrappers" is available on SERC's website.