We take a particular approach to assessment in this unit and we’d like to set the scene for the semester by explaining this approach to you.
Learning through assessment
We’re all about learning through assessment, rather than assessing learning, so you’ll notice all the assignments in this unit are vehicles for exploring the unit content. Assessment is designed to foster critical engagement with unit content and opportunities to explore the practical applications of theory. There is an emphasis on critical thinking.
Why we get you to complete assessment in a public space
Sometimes students are a bit hesitant about posting their assessment in public, but we do this very deliberately because we think it is a really good approach for a whole variety of reasons.
Sharing your learning activities
We ask you to do this for a number of reasons:
- Your posts become learning resources for your peers. Hooray for extra learning resources!
- Even better, you all benefit from having access to others’ opinions and perspectives – opinions and perspectives you wouldn’t have access to if you weren’t all blogging in public.
- Your posts also become conversation prompts, and everyone benefits from the discussion that happens in the comments.
- By sharing your experiences, you help your peers, because knowing someone else has succeeded and reading about the process they took helps others to be bold and courageous.
Sharing in public-public
We could get you to do the learning journal assessment using Blackboard blogs. You’d still get to read each others’ content. But we don’t do that. For four reasons.
Firstly, if you’ve ever used a Blackboard blog before, you’ll be familiar with just how torturous it is to work with them. They are just ick.
Secondly, we want you to use mainstream social technologies because Blackboard is a great big walled garden made of outdated tech that looks nothing like any social technology you’ll ever use in practice. When you get out into practice, you’ll be creating content in public, using mainstream social technology tools. We want you to have plenty of opportunities to do this before you head out into the workforce.
Thirdly, and most importantly, as professionals, you need to think about your online identity, you need to develop a professional voice, and you need to build your professional digital footprint. So we’re helping you to do that in this unit.
Finally, have we mentioned that we really don’t like Blackboard?
Challenging your thinking about assessment
Learning through assessment rather than assessing learning
Mainstream education has taught us that assessment is about measuring or assessing your learning. But we want you to try to shift your mindset about assessment.
We believe assessment is a vehicle for learning. Learning happens through completing assessment.
Yes, your assessment will be graded. That’s how formal education works, whether we like it or not.
But we challenge you to broaden your perspective on assessment. When you frame assessment as an opportunity for learning, as opposed to a mechanism to prove that you’ve learned stuff, you’ll find the idea of sharing your work with your peers a little less daunting.
Assessment is not about crafting perfect posts or sharing brilliant ideas. It’s about learning.
That’s not to say we don’t want you to bring your best to the table. Create the best content you can create. But don’t get hung up on the details. Get involved and invested in the learning.
I guarantee you that sharing your ideas with your peers will help you to do your best work, and that can only help you on the grade front.
Think your work isn’t as good as everyone else’s?
Invariably, some students will feel uncomfortable about blogging in public because they are concerned their work isn’t as good as everyone else’s.
Firstly, we are our own worst critics. You all know that, right? It’s difficult to be objective about your own work. What you should be thinking about is whether you’re bringing your best, and looking for areas you can improve next time round.
Secondly – and more importantly – it actually doesn’t matter whether your work is as good as that of your peers. Because here’s the thing: You are you. You aren’t anybody else. You don’t need to compare your work to that of your peers.
What you can do is be inspired by your peers’ work. Learn from it. But don’t compare.
When we mark your assignments, we compare your work against the criteria sheets. We’ll be comparing what you’ve done with what you were asked to do, not against your peers’ work. And we really encourage you to do the same.
Your job is to take every opportunity to learn and run with it. Your job is to learn as much as you can, to grow the knowledge and skills you started with, to leave the unit with new skills and knowledge. Your job is to do your best work.
We want to challenge you to step out of your comfort zone, to be brave and bold, but we absolutely do not want you to be stressed or anxious about what you’re doing in this unit. If you have any concerns about blogging in public, talk to us.
Remember, we are here to help you. We are open to being flexible. We care about you and your success. If you need something, all you need to do is ask.