Embedding successful pedagogical practices: Assessment strategies for a large, diverse, first year student cohort

Abstract

This paper argues that the transition to first year in a diverse, multi-campus, multimodal university provides significant difficulty and disorientation for school leavers and mature age and international students. Consequently, curriculum design for first year students requires an awareness of the need to provide commencing students with a framework for meeting the requirements of the academic environment. This paper illustrates how the successful practice of teaching first year students addresses the learning issues and needs of first year university students through the use of scaffolding and developmental assessment.

The case study is from a first year Faculty of Business core course at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. It provides a range of examples of successful pedagogical practices, including examples of scaffolding and developmental assessment embedded within the course materials to support and meet student needs. The strategies to embed these support mechanisms included spreading the assessment across the semester using two assignments and a final examination. In the second assignment of the course we utilise an incremental research and assignment process that includes an exercise to deconstruct the assignment question, a short annotated bibliography, the concept mapping of the assignment argument and the assessment of a supplied essay before the writing and submission of the student's final essay.

As a result of these curriculum changes, we argue that preliminary indications are an improvement in both student assignment performance and student retention.

Authors

Cassandra Star
School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, University of Southern Queensland, Australia

Jacquelin McDonald
Learning and Teaching Support Unit, University of Southern Queensland, QLD

References

Angelo, T. A., & Cross, K. P. (1993) Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Barnett, R. (1994) The limits of competence. Buckingham, UK: Society for Research in Higher Education/Open University Press.

Beaudin, B. P. (1999, November) Keeping online asynchronous discussions on topic. Journal of synchronous Learning Networks, 3(2) Retrieved from http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/jaln/v3n2/v3n2_beaudin.asp

Biggs, J. (1999) Teaching for quality learning at university. Buckingham, UK: Society for Research in Higher Education/Open University Press.

Biggs, J. (2003) Teaching for quality learning at university (2nd ed.) Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.

Boston, C. (2002) The concept of formative assessment. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 8(9), 1-5.

Brancolini, K. R., & Heyns, E. P. (1998) Implementing an assessment plan for information literacy. In Living in the Future II: Selected conference proceedings. Tuscon, AZ: University of Arizona. Retrieved from http://dizzy.library.arizona.edu/conference/ltf2/papers/iu42398.html

Cartwright, P., Ryan, J., Hacker, P., Powell, E., & Reidy, J. (2000) Collaboration and interaction: Modelling explored. In Sources of confusion: Refereed proceedings of the national language and academic skills conference held at La Trobe University, November 27-28, 2000 (pp. 61-69) Bundoora, Vic: La Trobe University.

Citera, M. (1988) Distributed teamwork: The impact of communication media on influence and decision quality. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 49(9), 792-800.

Curtis, S., & Shami, N. (2002) The effect of taking paid employment during termtime on students' academic studies. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 26(2), 129-138.

Fischer, M. (1998) Using Lotus notes learning space for staff development in public schools. Journal of Interactive Learning Research. 9(3/4), 221-234.

Flottemesch, K. (2000) Building effective interaction in distance education: A review of the literature. Educational Technology, 40(3), 46-51.

Gilbert, N., & Driscoll, M. (2001) Collaborative knowledge building: A case study. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50(1), 59-79.

Green, W., Hammer, S., & Stephens, R. (2005) Locating learning advisers in the new university: What should be our role? In Language and academic skills in higher education conference 2005, 24-25 November, Australian National University, Canberra.

Hammond, J., & Gibbons, P. (2001) What is scaffolding? In J. Hammond & P. Gibbins (Eds.), Scaffolding teaching and learning in language and literacy education. Sydney, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association.

Harlen, W., & James, M. (1997) Assessment and learning: Differences and relationships between formative and summative assessment. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 4(3), 365-379.

Hepworth, M. (2000) The challenge of incorporating information literacy into the undergraduate curriculum. In S. Corral & H. Hathaway (Eds.), Seven pillars of wisdom? Good practice in information skills development. London: Standing Conference of National and University Libraries.

Innis, K. (1996) Diary survey: How undergraduate full-time students spend their time. Leeds, UK: Leeds Metropolitan University.

Johnston, B., & Webber, S. (2003) Information literacy in higher education: A review and case study. Studies in Higher Education, 28(3), 335-352.

Jonassen, D. (1995) Constructivism and computer-mediated communication in distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 9(2), 7-26.

Karagiorgi, Y., & Symeou, L. (2005) Translating constructivism into instructional design: Potential and limitations. Educational Technology & Society, 8(1), 17- 27.

Klenowski, V. (2002) Developing portfolios for learning and assessment: Processes and principles. London: RoutledgeFalmer.

Krause, K., Hartley, R., James, R., & McInnis, C. (2005) The first year experience in Australian universities: Findings from a decade of national studies [Final report]. Melbourne, Vic: Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne.

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991) Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

McInnis, C. (2000) The work roles of academics in Australian universities. Canberra, ACT: Australian Government Publishing Service.

McInnis, C., & James, R. (1995) First year on campus: Diversity in the initial experiences of Australian undergraduates. Canberra, ACT: Australian Government Publishing Service.

MacDonald, E., & Saarti, J. (2003) Pharmacology on the Internet - a WebCT course teaching information literacy for pharmacy students in the University of Kuopio. Bioscence Education eJournal, 1(8), 1-8. Retrieved from http://bio.ltsn.ac.uk/journal/vol1/beej-1-8.htm

Marginson, S. (2006) Dynamics of national and global competition in higher education. Higher Education, 52(1), 1-39.

Marton, F., & Saljo, R. (1976) On qualitative differences in learning: Outcome and process. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 46, 4-11.

Mayes. J. T. (2007) Groundhog day again? Keynote for JISC Innovative e-Learning 2007, Institutional transformation and supporting lifelong learning, Retrieved June 11, 2007, from http://www.jisc.ac.uk/elp_conference07

McDonald, J. (2007) The role of online discussion forums in supporting learning in higher education. Unpublished Doctor of Education dissertation, Faculty of Education, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Qld.

Misanchuk, M., & Anderson, T. (2001) Building in an online learning environment: Communication, cooperation and collaboration. In Proceedings of the annual Mid-South Instructional Technology conference (6th, Murfreesboro, TN, April 8-10, 2001)

Oliver, R., Omari, A., & Herrington, J. (1998) Exploring student interactions in collaborative World Wide Web computer-based learning environments. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 7(2-3), 263-287.

Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (1999) Building learning communities in cyberspace - effective strategies for the online classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Paton-Saltzberg, R., & Lindsay, R. (1993) The effects of paid employment on the academic performance of full-time students in higher education. Oxford, UK: Oxford Polytechnic.

Pitkethley, A., & Prosser, M. (2001) The first year experience project: A model for university-wide change. Higher Education Research and Development, 20(2), 185- 198.

Rawson, M. (2000) Learning to learn: More than a skill set. Studies in Higher Education, 25(2), 225-238.

Raymond, E. (2000) Learners with mild disabilities. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Rose, M., & McClafferty, K. A. (2001) A call for the teaching of writing in graduate education. Educational Researcher, 30(2), 27-33.

Rosen, J., & Castro, G. (2002) From workbook to web. Computers in Libraries, 22(1), 30-35.

Rowley, J., Banwell, L., Childs, S., Gannon-Leary, P., Lonsdale, R., Urquhart, C., & Armstrong, C. (2002) User behaviour in relation to electronic information services within the UK higher education academic community. Journal of Educational Media, 27, 107-122.

Slavin, R. E. (1996) Cooperative learning: Theory, research and practice. New York: Macmillan.

Smith, J., & Oliver, M. (2005) Exploring behaviour in the online environment: Student perceptions of information literacy. Alt-J: Research in Learning Technology, 13(1), 49-65.

Snyder, B. R. (1971) The hidden curriculum. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. University of Southern Queensland. (2005) USQ strategic plan: 2005-2009. Toowoomba, Qld: Author.

Van de Vusse, L., & Hanson, L. (2000) Evaluation of online course discussions: Faculty facilitation of active student learning. Computers in Nursing, 18(4), 181-188.

Vos, P. (1991) Curriculum control of learning processes in higher education. In 13th forum on higher education of the European Association for Institutional Research, Edinburgh.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978) Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes (trans. by M. M. Lopez-Morillas Cole, A. R. Luria & J. Wertsch) Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Wilhem, J., Baker, T., & Dube, J. (2001) Strategic reading: Guiding students to lifelong literacy. New Hampshire: Heinemann.

Zenios, M., Goodyear, P., & Jones, C. (2004) Researching the impact of the networked information environment on learning and teaching. Computers and Education, 43, 205-213.

 

Keywords

multimodal university; mature age student; international students; curriculum design

Meta

PP: 018 - 030


Sign Me Up for latest release updates

*  Email Address:
    First Name:
    Last Name:
*  I am interested in:





 

Web Feed

Latest Articles

Special Issues

Pedagogy and language planning
Volume /


Explorations of pedagogy in Australian contexts
Volume 8/3
Summary | Contents


Quality pedagogies for quality learning in contemporary higher education
Volume 8/2
Summary | Contents


Creativity and collaboration in the education sector
Volume 8/1
Summary | Contents


Cross-cultural pedagogies: The interface between Islamic and Western pedagogies and epistemologies
Volume 7/3
Summary | Contents


Diverse dimensions of computer-assisted language learning
Volume 7/2
Contents


Online Pedagogy in Practice
Volume 5/3
Contents


Working with computer-assisted language learning
Volume 5/2
Summary | Contents


Language testing
Volume 5/1
Summary | Contents


Pedagogical meanings emerging in practice (Part 2)
Volume 4/5
Summary | Contents


Contextualizing CALL locally and globally
Volume 4/4
Summary | Contents


Pedagogical meanings emerging in practice (Part 1)
Volume 4/3
Contents


Doctoral designers: Challenges and opportunities in planning and conducting educational research
Volume 4/2
Summary | Contents


Evaluating value(s): Issues in and implications of educational research significance and researcher identity
Volume 4/1
Summary | Contents


Meanings emerging in practice (Part 3)
Volume 3/3
Summary | Contents


Meanings emerging in practice (Part 2)
Volume 3/2
Summary | Contents


Meanings emerging in practice (Part 1)
Volume 3/1
Contents


Educating for tomorrow: Considering theories for Learning Futures
Volume 2/3
Summary | Contents


'Town and gown' in the bush: Contemporary regional universities and transforming communities
Volume 2/2
Summary | Contents


Meanings under the microscope (Part 4)
Volume 2/1
Summary | Contents


Meanings under the microscope (Part 3)
Volume 1/3
Contents


Meanings under the microscope (Part 2)
Volume 1/2
Contents


Meanings under the microscope (Part 1)
Volume 1/1
Summary | Contents


crossref.org - The citation linking backbone



Website by Fig Creative Sunshine Coast Website Design
>