Saturday, 21 April 2007

Work-based Learning Futures

I had the great pleasure to attend the WBL-futures conference in Buxton last Thursday and Friday. I found the experience to be incredibly refreshing. The conference was relatively small, but with a very high level of quality amongst visitors. 63% of attendees actually also presented a paper, as did I, and so most guest had a lot to bring to the discussion. I also found the atmosphere to be incredibly constructive and innovative, and it made me wonder where true innovation in education is really taking place. Sure, technology is a wonderful enabler for many pedagogical development, but I couldn't help but think that the true innovators were to be found in this domain of work based learning. While I, and many of my colleagues in e-learning, are still debating personal learning spaces and social networks, here these concepts have been applied for many years, either with or without the help of technology. And many of the underlying pedagogy of applied personal negotiated learning is something I think will spread out across HE in the next few years. We will have to grow into our roles as coaches and assessors, and let go of the idea that there is a future in being an expert, a lecturer. For those keen to take some steps on this path, have a look at the abstracts. Most of these are discussion documents, a more concise publication is being prepared to be published in October.

I will try and collect and upload some of the presentations and such (including ours) as soon as possible... watch this space!

Monday, 16 April 2007

Screencasts on scoring

I've been meaning to build up a collection of learning resources supporting the professional development of teaching staff in relation to (e-)Assessment. Aside from the wiki on our website, I have now uploaded 2 screen-casts on scoring strategies. This is my first attempt at using this medium, so any feedback on it's effectiveness, or lack thereof, would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

It's funny how things coincide sometimes. Today a student came to our office, wondering if we could help her develop an assessment in support of her dissertation. For some reason several students have made this request this year, while none used to before. Personally I think it's a wonderful thing, and testament to how students now view technology as an integral and important part of their lives and careers. It also shows how they are much less subject to pigeonholing technology.

For years the Centre for Interactive Assessment Development has been supporting lecturers by developing rich assessments. The university of Derby has in general adopted a far more innovative approach then most, progressing e-Assessments far beyond the domain of the multiple choice quiz. still the applications sought for innovative assessment practice have been rather limited. Primarily assessments were measurements of learning, mostly summative or formative only in the sense of providing practice and a benchmark for a later summative exercise. Assessments that actually teach, or diagnose are a relative new addition to our portfolio. Assessments for other purposes, such as research or evaluation, have never even been considered as part of the centres value and expertise. This is something I am desperate to change. I'm glad at least students seem to agree with me on that one.