Using Benchmarking to Improve Students' Learning and Make Assessment More Student Centred

The School of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Adelaide
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the 20th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference, 2009, pp. 726 - 734
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If universities are to prepare students for professional practise then they should also prepare them for the type of learning that occurs in the workplace. Graduatesâ workplace learning often differs considerably from their university experience. Firstly there is typically no lecturer or tutor to instruct them, and workplace learning is often collaborative. Hence studentsâ preparation for entering this workplace environment should include opportunities to practise collaborative learning with their peers. While designing collaborative learning tasks that involve students having to make and reflect on their judgements are extremely beneficial, these participatory exercises can result in an intolerable administrative burden especially for large classes. The authors have recently developed a specific benchmarking tool to assist academics to produce regular student centred assessments to improve studentsâ judgement and learning with a manageable academic effort. In this paper we reflectively deconstruct a purposely designed collaborative learning activity, investigating the effect of each of its components on student learning. Furthermore we explore how effectively the educational technology used reduced both the marking and administrative burden of running these exercises particularly in large classes.
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