The Internet TESL Journal

Using Checklists to "Standardise" Content

Chien-Ching Lee
dyhyapp [at] pacific.net.sg
Singapore

Introduction

Checklists are often used as measurements or guidelines to determine how far you have met the task requirement. Another seldom realized good use of checklists is as a pro-active measure to "standardise" content. This tool is especially useful for courses that are project-based, that require students to do research before writing their product.

Context

The Writing for E-commerce module teaches students to write for the Web, specifically, for the corporate website. Hence, students learn to write web pages like the home page, company information page, product page, order page and online service page.

Problems

Many problems were encountered in the process of teaching the course:

Solution

A pro-active measure i.e. checklists was used to arrest this problem. The checklists would hopefully provide students with a clear standard as to what their written product should have and indirectly, reduce marking variations among different teachers.

The students were encouraged to explore the various websites of various industries but when they write, they had to make sure that they had the components that were listed in the checklist (see Examples 1 and 2).

The checklists only listed the sections that were compulsory for a certain web page. Students were still free to express themselves creatively and convincingly.

Example 1: Checklist for Product Page

Example 2: Checklist for the Order Page

Conclusion

After trying it out for one semester, it was found that the studentsí grades distribution did not differ much from the previous semester's (mainly in the B and C range). However, informal feedback from the students found that they preferred having the checklists as it provided them with a clear guideline when writing their web page. Not only did they have a stronger sense of ownership of their written product but also the confidence to write what they feel would make their web page better as long as they fulfilled the sections in the checklist.

Many teachers also used the checklists to encourage the students to analyse their piece of work before handing it in. The checklists also made marking more transparent and hence, less problems occurred during the marking workshop.


The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. IX, No. 2, February 2003
http://iteslj.org/
http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Lee-Checklists.html