This week iLearn Open House features convenor Dr. Rod Lane and his delivery of unit EDCN814 – Assessment Issues. Its purpose – to refine student knowledge and skills in educational assessment. The unit aims to assist students to:
- Synthesise principles of effective assessment from the literature
- Apply the principles of effective assessment in classroom and professional settings
This unit was initially run internally with face-to-face evening classes each week. Rod decided to make the unit available online for students studying externally, which involved reworking the unit design and delivery. The review process involved looking at:
- Feedback from students and staff working on the unit;
- The pedagogical approach and how it could be improved;
- The site layout and design; and
- The technical set up of iLearn activities.
What I noticed when I taught this unit the first couple of times is that the approach of just working through the textbook and focusing on theory didn’t work. It made a lot more sense to structure the unit around themes and common misconceptions that teachers and students have about assessment. The students were much more engaged with this approach.
Two key elements of the unit are its structural design and workflow. EDCN814 is built around modules, so that content is “chunked” into manageable sections and students know exactly what they need to do to meet the learning outcomes. Each module has a common structure where students work through the following tasks:
- Engaging with Unit readings, videos and lecture recordings.
- Completing group work and individual activities (e.g. Google Doc/Spreadsheet tasks) to build understanding of the key concepts
- Reflecting through blog posts.
- Contributing to the unit glossary
Students really love that everything is available in one place (the modules). The activities in each unit are clearly outlined with icons at the top of each page. Modules are opened progressively on iLearn throughout the session.
Videos are used throughout EDCN814 as an effective means of providing students additional points of reference for unit content. Rod provides an introductory video to students, giving an overview of what to expect from the unit, and supplementary videos where Rod explains key concepts in relation to assessment tasks.
Rod has adopted an assessment for and as a learning approach in EDCN814. The four assessment tasks in the unit are explicitly linked with the module activities. The tasks build on each other and scaffold the knowledge and skills students need to complete the final summative assessment (a literature review). Throughout the unit students evaluate each others’ work and reflect on their own progress towards the unit outcomes.
‘I love other staff being able to look at my iLearn unit as it’s a great mechanism to get feedback and improve on what’s there.‘Together with the Faculty of Human Science’s learning and teaching team, Rod was able to adapt the unit design and resources based on student feedback and convenor experience from past sessions. The unit is being continually refined based on feedback from other staff at Macquarie who have looked at the unit in Open iLearn.
To access Rod’s unit or any opened unit, log into iLearn and enter a unit code or keyword.
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