Online Assessment – Assignment for EDUC 4151

EDUC 4151 – Building Assessments

Course: Soft Skills for Canadian Workplace

Soft skills for Canadian Workplace is a 3 month online course that introduces 9 core soft skills that every immigrant should develop. Each week a new soft skill is discussed in a new module.

Module Learning Objective – Small Talk

By the end of the module students will understand the concept of small talk, will have changed the way they feel about it (from pointless conversation to a powerful way to show they are engaging, relevant, informative, and confident) and they will be confident using “anchors” in real life scenarios.

Lesson Learning Objective

Students will demonstrate understanding of formal and informal phrases that introduce small talk versus invite to more personal and detailed discussions (e.g. “How’s it going?” or “How was your weekend?”) and will know how to use them in short dialogues to make a good first impression and build rapport.


Students taking this course have a minimum CLB 6 English level, have graduated with an undergraduate or post graduate degree in their countries. Cultural backgrounds most predominant: China, India, Philippines, and 1 student from Belgium and 2 from Russia. Only 2 of the students have worked abroad in multicultural environments. All students are unfamiliar with the concept of small talk; they are at the beginning of their job searching process. All students come from a traditional education background and are most familiar with a prescriptive approach.

Assessment Strategy


The assessment is a 3 part quiz. The first part is a 10-question multiple choice, the second part is a matching exercise and the third part is a short answer question.

The multiple choice will assess the students’ level of understanding of the concept, and topics to use such as:

  1. Small talk is a rather formal way of interacting with other people
    1. False
    1. True
  2. Which of the following questions is an example of what not to ask during small talk?
    1. “How was the drive to work today?”
    1. “How much did your house sell for?”
    1. “What did you think about the new restaurant across the street?”

Instructions to students;

  • Complete the quiz – see the assignments area of the course or click here

 (You can use your notes and material provided)

  • Make sure you have answered all questions or the quiz will not be graded
  • Assignment is to be submitted on line by no later than Sunday night at midnight.
  • Each question is 10 points worth for a maximum of 10×10 = 100 points

For the second part of the assessment, students will match phrases and construct 2 different 6 lines dialogues to demonstrate they are recognizing patterns and “anchors” in communication

Instructions to students:

  • Read carefully the entries in the 2 columns below.
  • Identify “anchors” in statements and build two 6-lines small talk dialogues
  • Enter the matching numbers in the 2 blank tables provided
1 Good morning! How are you? E Can’t complain! How’s it going?      
  • Each match is worth 10 points with a max of 60 points per dialogue, 120 points for this section
  • Assignment is to be submitted on line by no later than Sunday night at midnight.

Short answer to the question “What did you learn about small talk in Canada?”

In this module we learned about why we use small talk, phrases and idioms that introduce small talk, anchors to construct small talk dialogues. Follow these guiding questions to build your answer:

                What did you know and how did you feel about small talk?                                                        15 points

                How did your thinking change about small talk? Why? (3 reasons)                      5 points per reason

Possible total: 30 points

Minimum of 500 words

Bullet form and essay writing acceptable – whichever you are more comfortable with

Grading Summary: 

Possible total points                                       420 points and represents 5% of the final mark:

Multiple Choice                                                100 points

Matching exercise                                           120 points

Short answer                                                     200 points


Becoming a master of small talk is anything but simple, especially when so many of newcomers see it as a pointless form of communication.  The reality is that it is a necessary skill in the Canadian workplace and social environment. It is the only most effective way to make an engaging and confident first impression. To change the attitude towards small talk students have to learn first why, the purpose and then the rules of making small talk.

In this module, students will first define small talk and understand the goal of talking to strangers in the big picture of networking in the Canadian workplace. They will learn about Canadian communication rules of engagement, topics to avoid in the first stages of any relationship and topics to engage with. Then they will be given the tools to understand what anchors are, how to identify and use them to build flowing dialogues.

“What and how students learn depends to a major extent on how they think they will be assessed.” (Biggs, J., 1999).  There is a strong connection between assessments and learning goals of any course. If we can’t properly define the learning goals or the assessment type, chances are instruction is going to be a bit chaotic and the students confused.

The first part of the assessment is the multiple choice questions. They can provide quick information on the student’s ability to grasp the new material and also, this type of assessments will give the student a quick idea on the areas they might need to revisit in order to complete the rest of the assessment.

The second part or the matching exercise is asking students to match phrases from column 1 to statements in column 2 and construct in this way 2 different 6 lines small talk dialogues. Bloom’s taxonomy classifies the activity of matching as a level 1 or 2 activity testing knowledge and comprehension. This part of the assessment will test the student’s knowledge and comprehension of how to construct a small talk dialogue using “anchors” (also tested in the multiple choice)

e.g.  Good morning! How are you?

                Can’t complain! How’s it going?

         I am good, thank you. It was a bit chilly this morning, I think soon it will be fall.            

Short-answer questions are flexible open-ended questions that don’t have a pre-determined structure. They can be used as part of a formative and summative assessment. The structure of short answer questions is very similar to traditional examination questions.  Students in the group are more familiar with this practice, feel less anxious and are engaging with the content more seriously knowing this is how they will be assessed.

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