Recently some of our teaching team attended a conference on rethinking assessment and learning. We sat down and had a chat with them about things that they learnt and could bring back to the ASMS.

Why you were interested in participating and what did you hope to learn?

The conference was advertised as ‘Rethinking Assessment and Learning’ and while the CS at the ASMS has made significant progress is developing quality curriculum and inquiry pedagogy, our assessment is not always as innovative. I was keen to be inspired by innovations in this area.

What happened at the event? What did you guys get up to while you were there?

The conference consisted of three parts

  • Part 1 was a series of presentations regarding the ‘future of assessment’
  • Part 2 was a choice of three breakout sessions, I chose the Higher Education session as the focus on MOOCS seemed to fit the goals of the ASMS to develop SDL.
  • Part 3 was a series of presentations about a range of educational technologies.

What connections have you made with what you learnt and your work at the ASMS?

While the EdTech case studies were impressive, and worth following up with a trial licence, and the MOOC presentations interesting (especially Sandra Milligan from Melbourne Uni), the biggest impact was by Eric Mazur, whose presentation left 2 key impressions.

The first is the use of real problems, in which we already know the answer, the method differs. Eric’s presentation looked at how these problems can be used to develop and assess deep understandings and not just memory.

The second was the use of assessment as a learning activity, which, while not new, was refreshing to hear, especially when combined with examples of this in practice.

Useful resources you picked up from the event:

Plenty of readings by Eric Mazur, ‘The problem with problems’ and ‘confessions of a converted lecturer’ . Also: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/

Other reflections

While an interesting and useful conference, with speakers I would be keen to see again, the organisation was not ideal, with often a superficial coverage of massive ideas.