Beyond the “real world”: exploring authentic assessment design

Mary Simper ~ Learning Designer

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.

Now that we’re all hungry for brownies, here’s a more concrete definition: Continue reading “Beyond the “real world”: exploring authentic assessment design”

Kicking off Pride Month at the OU: exploring LGBT+ visibility in STEM

 Eleanor Moore ~ Learning Designer

June is Pride Month and here at The Open University, we have a packed calendar of events exploring diverse perspectives and themes of inclusion. One of the first was an online seminar led by Dr Jessica Gagnon of Manchester University and Dr Marco Reggiani of Strathclyde University.

Jessica and Marco delivered an interesting presentation on how visibility is perceived and navigated by LGBT+ academics and PhD students in STEM, with a focus on how multiple axes of oppression impact people and groups who are marginalised and historically excluded. They interviewed 82 people, including 24 LGBT+ individuals, as part of their study. In summing up the key findings of their research, it was clear that emerging themes resonated with seminar participants as people shared their experiences of navigating the complex world of being visible as an LGBT+ person. Continue reading “Kicking off Pride Month at the OU: exploring LGBT+ visibility in STEM”

Will wonders ever SiSE?: Designing for Students in Secure Environments

by Hayley Johns

During my work with the Open University so far, I’ve been really privileged to work with students from all walks of life. One key part of the OU student community, and a new one for my own practice, is students in secure environments. The OU’s work reaches over 200 prisons and secure hospital units around the country, and students who are studying from these institutions can take undergraduate modules across all four faculties (FASS, FBL, STEM and WELS), as well as Access modules for those who are new to higher education or haven’t studied at university level for some time.

Continue reading “Will wonders ever SiSE?: Designing for Students in Secure Environments”