Friday, May 19, 2017

Assessing STEM Students Using ePortfolios

The final assessment item for Computing and engineering students undertaking group projects in the TechLauncher Program at the Australian National University is a Personal Development Review (PDR). Last year this was a reflective portfolio prepared by the student using the Mahara e-Portfolio tool and worth 30% of the total course assessment. This year the exercise has been halved to 15% and recast as an a job application (1,000 to 1,250 words) against five selection criteria:
Dr Shayne Flint
Dr Chris Browne
Dr Chris Browne
  1. "demonstrated proficiency in a technical area of expertise
  2. a positive attitude and/or clear organisation skills
  3. teamwork and/or leadership
  4. demonstrated service to the workplace
  5. a commitment to personal development"
From: TechLauncher Personal Development Review, Shayne Flint and Chris Browne, ANU College of Engineering & Computer Science, 2017
Students will be assessed against these criteria. The use of Mahara is no longer suggested, with the student simply submitting a word processing document via the Moodle Learning Management System.

As I discovered myself, having to complete a reflective portfolio last year for a MEd, this is a particularly difficult task for a STEM student. Having been trained to always emphasize hard facts and write in the third person, it is difficult to suddenly write about myself and my personal relationship to the work. Treating the task like a job application should provide more focus for the students. However, this is still difficult where students have been undertaking teamwork and trained to be "team players" but then asked to write about what they, individually, accomplished.

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