This week we held a lunch time seminar to give staff a chance to learn about the project and to hear from two of the module co-ordinators that we have been working with. James Johnstone is module coordinator for a second year module - Principles and Practice of Sports Science and Hazel Wagner is module coordinator for Advanced Corporate Reporting a third year module. Hazel and James spoke about the issues with the modules prior to the ESCAPE project and took us through the process of re engineering that they went through in order to increase the amount of engagement that the students had with their assessments. We had alluded to this at the Ulster conference ( see previous blog entry) but it was really exciting to hear the people responsible for managing and applying the changes speak with passion about their modules. The presentations gave an indication of what was possible if to quote James " .......we leave the Rolls Royce in the garage" This is a reference to the work done by Win Hornby, of Robert Gorden University on efficiency and effectiveness in assessment .
The assessments developed by Hazel and James were effectively multi component designed to engage students on a regular basis over the whole semester. They have multiple opportunities for feedback to students and for students to engage with the feedback,using it to inform their application to the next component of their assessment.
One of the themes of the assessments is that it gives the chance for the lecturers to understand where the students are at each part of the module - to really get a feel for the students grasp of topics or issues. This reminded me of the example of when I walk Holly, my Springer Spaniel, we are only together at the start and the end of the process - where she goes in the middle bit I am not too sure - we meet again at the end. This is all to often what happens with our students -we know what they are thinking at the start of the lecture and we know where they are at the end - but they probably have not been following us all the way through.
The seminar finished with question and answer session with the audience keen to quiz James and Hazel on their experience of applying the new assessment.