Department of Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management
Faculty of Engineering
Dr Derek Little
In the various courses I teach I found the old traditional methods of marking, using a myriad of spreadsheets/word documents to provide student feedback, were at times fraught due to time constraints. They also lacked at times the consistent feedback structure that some students needed to learn from success and failure. Myplace in the later part of 2014 offered a solution that could be utilised to create better standards and consistency. The majority of classes I teach are large, ranging from 45 – 230 students, and I felt that I needed not only to provide relevant and interesting lecture materials but importantly, ensure that the rationale behind the course structure could be referred to by the student. Myplace provides space to make comment for class information and I used this to describe what each week's lecture was about and why.
By creating a more structured approach to my class content I’m able to review the quality of the materials used with the assessment criteria and improve both aspects. When I set up the marking rubric, I asked my students in the example provided below to make comments on how I was going to assess their work. The feedback from the UG class was I needed to make the rubric more granular so a more accurate mark could be determined. This was achieved with only slightly more work and so far no negative feedback has been received (that I’m aware of).
As someone who works part time in my department, and having taken on a wide variety of lecturing subjects from other academics over the period I have worked for the department, I found that adapting my teaching skills and knowledge to these courses made it difficult to ensure consistent delivery quality. If I had the structure I’ve now implemented in place when taking over a new class assignment in the past, the assimilation of the course materials and assessment criteria would have been easier. The key thing to remember when utilising Myplace is to have a structure of the course well laid out and broken into linked segments that don’t leave the students lacking in knowledge and next steps. I’m sure most academics have this but to use the various tools in Myplace this is essential.
I have implemented this structure in two of my teaching remits and fully implemented it in the Engineering Innovation Management class 56324. It takes time to get the structure correct and student feedback and academic feedback is essential to this. I found that as I discussed the format with colleagues and students the process seems to be acceptable. A significant advantage is that if the students upload their work (i.e. group and individual assignments) Myplace will hold these for up to five years, so a history is kept of the input and assessment/feedback. However, to set this up takes time and may necessitate modifying course content or assessment criteria.
I believe this is well suited for textual/drawing type input. I’m sure this could be adapted for science and technical disciplines but I haven’t utilised the exam type format in Myplace to see how this would work. By providing students with more structured information flow, time will be allowed in the class to work at deeper levels of cognition.
This structure when implemented would also aid the introduction of a Flipped Classroom or blended learning opportunity. Thereby offering the courses online using Myplace as the facilitator or repository for the class materials, instructional video, discussion forums and collaboration online discussions are all supported by Myplace.
This is link to the class I’ve used the above method - 56324 - Engineering Innovation and Management