Online learning, collaboration and learning-oriented assessment: Four cases focusing on teacher-education
- Online learning, collaboration and learning-oriented assessment: Four cases focusing on teacher-education
- Hong Kong
- 1997.7 onwards
- An ongoing project is investigating online learning-oriented assessment (Carless, 2003) on a two-year project to redesign seven teaching and learning modules at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. Simultaneously the project team is developing key principles for online learning assessment. The project uses 'design experiments' (Brown, 1992; Collins, 1992), 'development research' (van de Akker, 1999) or 'use-inspired research' (Stokes, 1997) for the ongoing project. Use-inspired research "includes basic research that seeks to extend the frontiers of understanding but is also inspired by considerations of use" (Stokes, 1997, p. 74). Our focus has been to improve the use of learning-oriented assessment in eight separate modules (four completed and three in-progress) in teacher-education. Four teacher-educators from four different departments: Early Childhood Education, Information and Applied Technology, Creative Arts and the Centre for Learning, Teaching and Technology participated in the project. Throughout the project we have examined teachers' perceptions of assessment, teaching and learning and technology through video-interviews and concept mapping. In addition we have conducted video-focus groups with students within our classes to determine their perceptions about the new forms of assessment that we have trialled. Online learning technology has significantly changed the landscape of teaching, learning and assessment and allows new possibilities. Learning management systems like Blackboard have unique affordances in allowing collaboration between students. The use of group activities and student-centred approaches like project-based learning allow students to collaborate, debate, negotiate and crystallize their ideas whilst working within a socio-constructivist framework. The nature of the learning task is a predominant factor in the collaborative skills developed by the students. Project-based learning is defined as "an instructional technique in which meaningful tasks, often in the form of problems, serve as the context and stimulus for knowledge-building and critical thinking" (Howard, 2002, p. 348). Project-based learning focuses on meaningful activities in which realistic, ntiguing, generative tasks are advocated in which there is not a prescribed approach or solution and that the learners generate their own questions, plans and goals. Collaborative decision-making and problem-solving are necessary as teams work on projects in which they discuss, consult, collaborate and problem solve to create a product (Howard, 2002). There are two assessable components in collaborative assessment. We can focus on assessing the process of collaboration and we can also focus on the collaborative product itself (Macdonald, Weller, & Mason, 2002). As in all collaborative projects there is a difficulty of recognizing and evaluating the individual contrivution which needs to be addressed. Sometimes it may be best to avoid giving marks for the collaborative project and instead give marks for individual reflection on the collaborative learning skills within our current three modules. This presentation examines teachers' perceptions in relation to online learning, collaboration, collaborative assessment and project-based learning as well as students' perceptions in relation to collaborative assessment.
- Paper presented at the First International Conference on Enhancing Teaching and Learning through Assessment, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China.
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