Friday, November 16, 2012

Assessing for quality decision making at university

ANU Sciences Teaching Building
ANU Sciences Teaching Building
Greetings from the Australian National University  Science Teaching and Learning Colloquium on Research Led Education, where  by Professor Geoffrey Crisp, is talking on "Assessing for quality decision making at university". He began by pointing out that he had presented on the same spot in 2007, in a demountable building.

As with the 2007 presentation, Professor Crisp started with an image from a medieval painting of a lecture in a monastery. He then showed an image of a modern lecture theatre and suggested not much had changed. e argues that assessment needs to be authentic, being related to real world tasks. He pointed out that a three hour paper based examination is unlikely to relate to what the student needs to know.

Professor Crisp's 2007 talk and his book "e-Assessment Handbook" gave me the courage to decide to give up setting conventional examinations for the university courses I design. What I found surprising is that five years later there would be a need to make this case again. By now the idea that assessment needs to be aligned with the teaching and based on real world tasks should be conventional wisdom and three hour paper examinations relegated to history.

One theme emerging from the event today from several speakers is that learning is partly a socialisation process. University lecturers need to help students learn how to learn, so as to be academics and professionals.

Geoff showed is own  Transforming Assessment website (which I noticed is implemented with Moodle).

Also he recommended the Sbl Interactive scenario software. This was developed at University of Queensland for presenting a scenario to a student  who then makes a decision and the scenario displays the consequences. The software can be used for free if the developed scenarios are shared. I could not find any listed scenarios on ICT. The "Living Without Water" scenario from Engineers Without Boarders shows the potential.

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