Overview of June 2014 Blog:
Congratuations to Academy of Marketing teaching excellence award winners; ABS conference, April 2014; Ideas in assessment and feedback; HEA/HEPI 2014 report on the student experience; upcoming events.
Congratulations to teaching excellence award winners!
The winners of the Academy of Marketing teaching excellence awards have just been announced and they could not be more disserving! The individual award went to Dr Deborah Anderson at Kingston University and the team award to the following from London South Bank - Helen Aston, Beverly Barker, Dag Bennet, Lakdar Boukersi, David Capper, Mel Godfrey, Charles Graham, Peter Maple, Anita Peleg and Kim Roberts. Anita Peleg is also one of the HEA's National Teaching Fellows.
The awards will be presented at this years Academy of Marketing Conference annual dinner in Bournemouth in July.
We look forward to the winners sharing their ideas and best practice with us at upcoming conferences and events. Thank you also to Dr John Beaumont-Kerridge from University of Bedforshire who organised the competition and ensured a fair review process.
ABS Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, Aston University, April 29-30, 2014
This year’s conference was a great success – big thanks to Aston University and Neil Stewart Associates for hosting and organsing.
I particularly enjoyed the keynote presentation by Gwen van der Velden (Director of Learning and Teaching Enhancement at the University of Bath) on student retention and success. Over the past three years, the University has won three major awards: University of the Year 2012, University of the Year for Student Experience, 2013, and Best Campus University 2014. Gwen and her team have worked very hard to include the student voice on all University committees – large and small. No decisions are made without student perspectives and it is this ‘student as partner’ orientation that Gwen credits for the award for student experience in particular.
You can watch her presentation on policyreview.tv for a fee of £25 or download the presentation slides for free (April 30, 9:30 a.m.).
The main themes of the conference included assessment and feedback, internationalisation, employability, and flexible learning spaces, among others. I presented a seminar on a module I developed for an MA in International and cross-cultural marketing while I was teaching at Middlesex – The international and political environment - where we not only exposed students to political and economic risk assessment, but required them, by the end, to identify every country on a map of the world! On a similar theme of internationalising the curriculum, Rikke Duus from the University of Hertfordshire discussed her own MBA module where teams made up of students in both India and the UK design a website for a new product idea that they have come up with. She uses wix.com, a free, easy to use software for creating websites. Students learn not only about enterprise, product innovation and digital media, but also about managing cross-cultural issues that may come up over the year. Some of the product ideas were really inspiring. For more information, contact Rikke at email@example.com.
For the slides from the many other excellent workshops and presentations, go to this link.
Guidelines for assessment practice
Thanks to Helen Jones, our Discipline Lead for Sociology, Criminology and Law for pointing out the new online course from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) – Assessment in Higher Education. The course is open to all who are interested in improving the way we assess our students and it can be accessed via this link. Colleagues at MMU want to develop a network of people interested in assessment in higher education and to share experiences and conventions from other universities. They will also be sharing some of their recent development work in assessment as part of a UK project -TRAFFIC.
I have been doing some work on how tutors who use simulation games assess their students. In researching assessment in higher education, I encountered the idea of ‘authentic assessment’ on a number of different occasions. Authentic assessment can be described as an approach to assessment design that takes into account both the assessment activity itself and the processes that shape the students learning as they move towards assessment points. While researchers differ in their views as to the degree to which the following characteristics are required for assessment to be authentic, its design should:
- simulate or represent the realistic or ‘real-world’ value of the task and involve processes, knowledge and skills similar to what would be required in the work situation (Lebow & Wagner, 1994; Savery & Duffy, 1995; Reeves & Okey, 1996; Herrington & Herrington, 1998);
- be challenging and represent the complexities and ambiguities of real world decision making as well as the potential for multiple solutions/perspectives (Newmann et al., 1996; Petraglia, 1998; Kirschner, 2002; Reeves et al., 2002; Wiggins, 1993);
- require students to perform or create a product as the output, and that this involves higher-level skills (e.g. problem solving, critical thinking) and the integration of knowledge and skills from different domains (transfer) (Van Merrienboer, 1997; Darling-Hammond & Snyder, 2000; Reeves, et al, 2002; Ashford-Row et al., 2014);
- expose students in advance to the main criteria upon which the assessment will be evaluated and offer opportunities for students to become more ‘assessment literate’ through the use of exemplars or a dialogue to create a shared understanding of what is expected (Price et al., 2001; O’Donovan et al., 2004; QAA, 2013);
- require students to engage in sufficient and varied activities to ensure that they cover all the learning outcomes or intentions, rather than simply having a choice of which ones to be assessed on (e.g. final exam with a choice of questions)(Rust, 2002);
- offer developmental opportunities either by breaking the assessment down into a series of tasks that build upon each other or that allows for practicing the same task so students use progressively higher order thinking processes;
- involves regular feedback/debriefing on student progress during completion (Myers & Nulty, 2009; Crisp; 2012; Ashford-Row et al., 2014);
- give students the opportunity to engage in active reflection on their learning and learning processes (meta-cognition) (Birenbaum, 1996; Custer, 2000, Ashford-Rowe et al., 2014); and
- involve peer and collaborative learning opportunities in which the group emulates the functioning and the patterns of behaviour that might be expected in the professional setting (ERIC, 1990; Lebow &. Wager, 1994).
Biggs (1996) also noted that for authentic assessment to be effective it needs to be aligned with authentic instruction and in fact the two are often combined into authentic instruction or pedagogy.The underlying premise is that instruction and assessment are interdependent and for assessment to be effective it needs to be grounded within an instructional pedagogy.
This set of guidelines could be used for designing not just a single assignment but all the formative and summative assessment that one would create for a module.
‘Assessment and feedback’ are key themes and strands of work at the HEA – you will find some very useful publications and resources at this link to the HEA website.
If you would like my list of references on authentic assessment, please send me an email.
The HEA/HEPI report on the student experience 2014 points to areas for improvement
The HEA/HEPI (Higher Education Policy Institute) report on the student experience (Higher Education-UK) has recently been published and is the first such study to include students in years one and two who are part of the new £9000 per year fee regime. Overall satisfaction with the HE experience remains high at 86%, but 31% of respondents wish they had chosen another course. Many students said they would prefer smaller classes – and by small, they mean 15 students or less – as they feel they can learn much more and have the opportunity to interact more effectively in these settings.
Interestingly, students who have more contact hours per week (e.g. up to 50.9 hours per week for medical students) express greater levels of satisfaction. When asked what they think institutions should invest in, 48% of undergraduates chose ‘reducing fee levels’ (55% for first and second years in England); more teaching hours (35%); smaller class sizes (35%); better training for lecturers (34%); and better learning facilities (34%).
For many students who are now paying £9000 per year for their courses, Universities do not seem to be providing as much value for money as they expected. Interestingly, some students were honest enough to say that they could do more to improve their experiences – such as attending all classes – but clearly there is room for improvement on the part of institutions. How to go about reducing class sizes and perhaps adding more contact points when the funding for teaching and learning has been reduced is a dilemma for which solutions require some innovative thinking!
The survey investigates the learning and teaching experiences of students, including satisfaction with courses, reasons for dissatisfaction, experience of different-sized classes, total time spent working, perceptions of value-for-money, institutional spending priorities and, this year, a focus on student wellbeing.
If you are fortunate enough to have finished your marking, you might want to take in one or more HEA funded events during June and July:
- Embedding employability in social sciences curricula, Bristol, 09 Jun 2014;
- New to teaching in Business & Management, Finance & Accounting, Hospitality & Tourism, and Marketing, Reading, 17 Jun 2014;
- Technology for authentic learning in Marketing education, 18 June 2014, University of Central Lancashire
- New to using social networking in learning and teaching, Birmingham, 08 Jul 14;
- New to using open access resources in teaching research methods, Birmingham, 9 Jul 14;
- Teaching on the edge (2) – sharing a passion for pedagogy, Winchester, 09 Jul 14;
- Supporting students conducting independent research projects in the Social Sciences, 10 Jul 2014;
- New to using penny pinching pedagogy in teaching and learning, Bristol, 15 Jul 2014;
- Transitioning from other professions into Social Sciences academia – for and about ‘mid-career shifters’, Bristol, 16 Jul 2014
Please feel free to comment on this post in the space below or to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.