In this assessment portfolio, I will be looking into EDUC261 Information and Communication Technology and Education, which is a non-compulsory three-credit point planet unit that I tutor on during Session 1 and Session 3. The unit is the brainchild of Dr Matt Bower, a senior lecturer at Macquarie University, whose vision is to create a course that immerses pre-service teachers into a student centered learning design experience, engaging them in the co-creation of meaning whilst helping develop their understanding of how to effectively integrate technology into the classroom. The learning and teaching environment developed by Dr Bower uses a range of technologies; online collaborative authoring tools, web-conferencing, virtual worlds, mobile apps and a plethora of other tools to enable active and collaborative engagement in the learning experience. There are four assessment tasks spread across the 13 week session (weeks 3, 6, 12 & 13) although the assessments are aligned to the unit’s learning outcomes and are integrated throughout the learning and teaching activities, room for improvement lays with the integration of peer marking/feedback, and work-integrated learning opportunities.
In today’s larger and more diversified classes, many tutors experience critical difficulties in maintaining academic standards. The challenges faced by them become more tractable if learning outcomes are experienced as more function activities of the students than of their fixed characteristics. “The curricula in science and technology courses are heavily weighted towards the knowledge domain” (Barnett, 2001, p. 439). The work of the teachers is thus to organize the learning context in such a way that all students use the higher order of the learning process which ‘academic’ learners apply spontaneously (Biggs, 2012). This can be attained when all components are aligned, so that the objectives to be attained express the kinds of understanding that teachers require from students. The context in the teaching process encourages students to make use of the learning activities likely to achieve the necessary understandings. The assessment task will guide the students on the activities that are needed, and inform tutors on how good the objectives will be met (Little & Williams, 2010).
As students engage in collaboration, discussions, and planning using Google documents, their role in curriculum development is always confined to utilization of standard evaluation data (Carey, 2013). It is followed by an approach to planning that champions institutional perspectives. In addition, the design process is articulated through quality assurance mechanisms, curriculum language theories that alienate students and limit participation in the studies. “Broadening the demographic of those accessing and succeeding in higher education can be explored through the lens of individual institutional viability, particularly in the current context of a sector likely to become increasingly marketised and stratified” (Caruana, 2010, p. 53). Each of every tutor has his or her own theories and conceptual frameworks which impact and informs what they do and the manner in which they do it. These apply as much to learning and teaching as to other lives’ aspects (bound, 1993).
The unit of Information and Communication Technology and Education requires teachers to introduce peer review of teaching. When this is used in a formative manner, it gives a feedback on an aspect of online and blended teaching and learning practices. It ensures that there are personality and confidentiality, ensuring that there is maintenance in both privacy and trust. It encourages collegiality (Bovill, Cook-Sather & Felten, 2011). When practicing peer review, the instructor should listen carefully; take a step back and put into consideration the advice being given. This helps instructors on how to make their teaching better, may be from a colleague available to support and encourage them (McCulloch, 2009).
One of the great outcomes assessment benefits is that when the process is performed in a systematic manner, it benefits everyone in the learning institution from students to the administration. When instructors participate in outcomes assessment, they get help to determine what is working and what is not working in their programs. It facilitates valuable interdisciplinary and inter-campus discussions. It provides a string support to justify needed resources to maintain or improve programs. The assessment helps them to provide reassurance that all proficiency teaching a particular high demand unit agrees to address particular core content (Coates, 2005).
For students to improve on their learning outcomes, they should share their work with their peers to build a constructive feedback. Through peer review, the work of the students is improved through comments reflection and suggestion incorporation that comes from their peers. In addition, students are exposed to a number of ideas, styles of presentation and writing skills. This leads to beneficial achievement of lecturers and tutors through the incorporation of student peer review in their subject assessment (Westwood, 2002). Work integrated learning is a critical practice of the curriculum at most of the learning institutions. It gives students the chance to acquire and apply their gained knowledge in workplace contexts.
In conclusion, learning institutions have important opportunities for the engagement of students as most of them would have an interest to participate in the information and communication technology design of their learning. Instructors should make this attractive and accessible to students to promote their involvement in curriculum development. Today, success is defined more through how well tutors can evaluate, manage, and communicate all types of information in a technological environment to their students. Engagement in students is not about systems and procedures alone. A culture of engagement needs to happen inside, as well as outside, the classroom. In this manner, it extends beyond design and into the existing curriculum to be a differentiating feature of learning and assessment strategy.
Therefore, the first task in teaching of any unit is to clarify, the type of understanding that is required. The objectives that require to be stated in a manner that permits the information from the assessment to specify the passing level. What an instructor sees as a good teaching, and the approach in which the instructor tutors, depends on what conception of teaching the instructor possess.
Barnett, R., Parry, G., & Coate, K. (2001). Conceptualizing Curriculum Change. Teaching in Higher Education, 6 (4), 435-449.
Biggs, J. (2012). What the student does: teaching for enhanced learning. Higher Education Research & Development, 31 (1), 39-55
Bovill, C. Cook-Sather, A. & Felten, P. (2011). Students as co-creators of teaching approaches, course design and curricula: Implications for academic developers, International Journal for Academic Development, 16 (2).
Burchell, H. (2000). Facilitating Action Research for Curriculum Development in Higher Education. Innovations in Education and Training International, 37 (3), 263-269.
Carey, P. (2013). Student as co-producer in a marketised higher education system: a case study of students’ experience of participation in curriculum design. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 50 (3), 250-260.
Caruana, V. (2010). The challenges and opportunities of diversity in university settings. Assessment, Teaching and Learning Journal (Leeds Met), 11, pp.50-67.
Coates, H. (2005). The value of student engagement for higher education quality assurance. Quality in Higher Education, 11(25), 432.
Little, B., & Williams, R. (2010). Students’ roles in maintaining quality and in enhancing learning: Is there a tension? Quality in Higher Education, 16, 115–127.
McCulloch, A. (2009). The student as co-producer: Learning from public administration about the student–university relationship. Studies in Higher Education, 34, 171–183.
Westwood, P. (2002). Are we making teaching too difficult? A critical look at ‘differentiation’ in the classroom. Hong Kong Special Education Forum, 5(1), 13-29.