A Faculty Approach to Implementing Advanced, E-Learning Dependent, Formative and Summative Assessment Practices

A Faculty Approach to Implementing Advanced, E-Learning Dependent, Formative and Summative Assessment Practices

Paul White (Monash University, Australia) and Greg Duncan (Monash University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-410-1.ch005
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This chapter describes innovative approaches to E-Learning and related assessment, driven by a Faculty Teaching and Learning Technologies Committee within the Faculty of Pharmacy, Monash University, Australia. Using this group as a driver, we have caused institutional change in a Faculty that was previously quite traditional in its approach to teaching and assessment. The authors implemented a strategy for the pilot testing and broad adoption of innovative technologies, using a purpose-driven approach. They have used a range of technologies to increase the level of formative assessment that occurs during lectures to large student cohorts. They have used an audience response system to allow students to test and improve a range of cognitive skills in an “active” lecture environment; they will present an evaluation of this tool. The authors found that student perceptions of the level of feedback rose with the use of the audience response system, as did their perceived use of critical thinking skills. They further discuss the benefits and limitations of the use of audience response systems within the chapter and discuss our use of E-Learning technologies for summative assessment purposes.
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Introduction: Drivers For Change

The Faculty of Pharmacy is one of ten Faculties within Monash University, with around 60 full-time academic staff and over 1000 undergraduate students studying Bachelor of Pharmacy and Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science degrees. Senior Management in the Faculty has identified high quality, efficient teaching, and independent learning as high priority outcomes for the Faculty. In recent years, significant funding has been provided to create systems and procedures to support high quality education. From a senior management perspective, the Faculty performance identified in student experience surveys was both a key driver for change, and a key indicator of performance. As an example, scores on survey items related to the adequacy of ‘feedback’ were consistently low within the faculty. While other faculties shared this problem to some degree, our senior Faculty management staff were motivated to improve the teaching within the Faculty to address this issue, among others, in accordance with the desire for high quality, efficient teaching that promoted the independent learning attributes of students.

In addition, in our personal view, we saw a Faculty that historically had a deeply embedded history of traditional didactic teaching, with lectures, practical classes and tutorials being the major teaching and learning activities. A typical subject within a course consisted of around 36 lectures, six practical classes of three hours duration, and a number of tutorials. The advantage of this system largely stemmed from the efficiency of content delivery via lectures. Faculty staff, particularly those within basic sciences subjects, were not required to teach large numbers of small group classes, and were free to prepare lectures of high quality. This resulted in students consistently attending lectures given by experts in particular fields of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science. Attainment and understanding of content were generally the major student requirements, and assessment results over time indicated that student attainment of these types of learning objectives was at a high level.

The disadvantage of this approach was that there was little in the way of active learning in many of the lectures – few teaching and learning activities gave students ‘time on task’ to develop their critical thinking skills, and few assessment tasks evaluated student capabilities in these areas. Students thus began each learning cycle (i.e. content topic) with lectures which initiated / encouraged a content attainment approach, and thus they often attended practical classes and tutorials with a view to completing the required content attainment. In summary, the learning was largely staff-driven, that is teacher-centred, and did not stimulate analysis of content or encourage novel thinking by students often enough. Figure 1 provides some substance to the above observations.

Figure 1.

Staff and student perceptions of the importance of different cognitive skills/alignment of learning objectives, teaching and learning activities and assessment

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Gary Poole
Christine Spratt, Paul Lajbcygier
Chapter 1
Selby Markham, John Hurt
Reliability and validity have a well-established place in the development and implementation of educational assessment devices. With the advent of... Sample PDF
Re-Assessing Validity and Reliability in the E-Learning Environment
Chapter 2
Päivi Hakkarainen, Tarja Saarelainen, Heli Ruokamo
In this chapter the authors report on the assessment framework and practices that they applied to the e-learning version of the Network Management... Sample PDF
Assessing Teaching and Students' Meaningful Learning Processes in an E-Learning Course
Chapter 3
Charlotte Brack
Within the notion of Web 2.0, social software has characteristics that make it particularly relevant to ELearning, aligning well with a social... Sample PDF
Collaborative E-Learning Using Wikis: A Case Report
Chapter 4
Mike Hobbs, Elaine Brown, Marie Gordon
This chapter provides an introduction to learning and teaching in the virtual world Second Life (SL). It focuses on the nature of the environment... Sample PDF
Learning and Assessment with Virtual Worlds
Chapter 5
Paul White, Greg Duncan
This chapter describes innovative approaches to E-Learning and related assessment, driven by a Faculty Teaching and Learning Technologies Committee... Sample PDF
A Faculty Approach to Implementing Advanced, E-Learning Dependent, Formative and Summative Assessment Practices
Chapter 6
Christine Armatas, Bernard Colbert
Two challenges with online assessment are making sure data collected is secure and authenticating the data source. The first challenge relates to... Sample PDF
Ensuring Security and Integrity of Data for Online Assessment
Chapter 7
Robyn Benson
This chapter addresses some issues relating to the use of e-learning tools and environments for implementing peer assessment. It aims to weigh up... Sample PDF
Issues in Peer Assessment and E-Learning
Chapter 8
Paul Lajbcygier, Christine Spratt
This chapter presents recent research on group assessment in an e-learning environment as an avenue to debate contemporary issues in the design of... Sample PDF
The Validity of Group Marks as a Proxy for Individual Learning in E-Learning Settings
Chapter 9
Robert S. Friedman, Fadi P. Deek, Norbert Elliot
In order to offer a unified framework for the empirical assessment of e-learning (EL), this chapter presents findings from three studies conducted... Sample PDF
Validation of E-Learning Courses in Computer Science and Humanities: A Matter of Context
Chapter 10
Richard Tucker, Jan Fermelis, Stuart Palmer
There is considerable evidence of student scepticism regarding the purpose of team assignments and high levels of concern for the fairness of... Sample PDF
Designing, Implementing and Evaluating a Self-and-Peer Assessment Tool for E-Learning Environments
Chapter 11
Andrew Sanford, Paul Lajbcygier, Christine Spratt
A differential item functioning analysis is performed on a cohort of E-Learning students undertaking a unit in computational finance. The motivation... Sample PDF
Identifying Latent Classes and Differential Item Functioning in a Cohort of E-Learning Students
Chapter 12
Christine Armatas, Anthony Saliba
A concern with E-Learning environments is whether students achieve superior or equivalent learning outcomes to those obtained through traditional... Sample PDF
Is Learning as Effective When Studying Using a Mobile Device Compared to Other Methods?
Chapter 13
Thomas C. Reeves, John G. Hedberg
Evaluation falls into the category of those often neglected human practices such as exercise and eating right. All of us involved in education or... Sample PDF
Evaluation Strategies for Open and Distributed Learning Environments
Chapter 14
Madhumita Bhattacharya
This chapter presents a description and analysis of salient issues related to the development of an integrated e-portfolio application implemented... Sample PDF
Introducing Integrated E-Portfolio Across Courses in a Postgraduate Program in Distance and Online Education
Chapter 15
John LeBaron, Carol Bennett
Teachers and designers of computer-networked settings increasingly acknowledge that active learner engagement poses unique challenges, especially... Sample PDF
Practical Strategies for Assessing the Quality of Collaborative Learner Engagement
Chapter 16
Som Naidu
Many teachers commonly use assessment as the starting point of their teaching activities because they believe that assessment drives learning and... Sample PDF
Afterword: Learning-Centred Focus to Assessment Practices
About the Contributors