Natasha Huckle and Mark Williams were excited to host the Learning Design Cross Institutional Network this year at the Open University campus in Milton Keynes. With support from Jim Harris (University of Northampton) and Simon Walker (UCL) they identified themes for exploration and called out for learning designers across the network to present keynotes and workshops. This is what happened!
Hosting the LD CIN
It was the turn of the OU to host the Learning Design Cross Institutional Network on 27th July. And it was great to bring a range of institutions onto our campus as well as welcoming our online attendees. The aim of the network is to create a less formal occasion, a gathering rather than a conference, as a way of sharing practice and resources. It seems incredibly relevant to have such a space to communicate, because our work is never carried out in isolation. As learning designers, we are constantly researching ideas and theories whilst working within our own teams to implement them most successfully.
The Learning Design team at the OU has been exploring assessment practices, which has led to some rich discussions on accessibility, student choice, learning outcomes and authenticity. Discussions around authentic assessment have led us to think about how we can design assessments, well… more authentically!
Let’s start with an analogy…
Imagine being given a recipe for the best brownie in the world. Wouldn’t you want to bake and taste the brownies? This is called a taste test and it gives bakers the opportunity to experiment before selling products.
Similarly, authentic assessment provides students with a taste test where they mix, measure, and stir ingredients, applying methods to create a final product. A key stage is reviewing how well the process worked and this is akin to reflection, a major component of authentic assessment.
What is the most important feature of assessment for you and your students? This is a question we put to those present at the Assessment Design workshop our team led for the OU staff community in May 2021. The word cloud below shows that people thought that assessment should first and foremost be fair. They also believed it should be innovative, useful, interesting, challenging and enjoyable. Continue reading “Designing assessment for distance learners: what matters?”