What will we do differently next time?

Having worked with students for a semester and assessed the animations, we now have a ‘to do’ list of what we’ll change for next year:

  • Rooms. we had a bit of a nightmare with rooms bookings and had a mix of computer suites and group work rooms. the group work rooms had a much better layout and were much more conducive to the work we were doing. So next year we’ll focus on getting these rooms, not computer suites.
  • Group work. There are plenty of ways in which we could support group works in different ways, from how we select the groups in the first place, how we support them working as a group to how we discourage coasting. but what is most important is whatever we do do in this regard, we need to make this explicit to the students.
  • Software. The software we used had a schools license, which put a lot of the onus on us for administration. We also have students individual accounts, and they have told us that they’d prefer a group shared account (or software that would allow them to amalgamate their work). This is something we’ll need to re-think. It would also be good to encourage students to use alternatives to the software that we provided.
  • Marking. Watching so many animations back to back became tiring, and in the future we’d break them up a bit more to be able to give our full attention to everyone.
  • Length of animation. We set a time limit of 2 minutes for the animation but a lot came in at around 2 minutes 30 seconds. based on this, and unanimous feedback from students we’ll relax the guidelines to 2-4 minutes next time.

Assessment day

Assessment day has been and gone, the 25th and 26th March. There were nerves (ours and the students), tears (just ours) and a sense of relief that it was over (again, ours and the students) and that it all went well.

Students have agreed to let us share their animations so you can enjoy viewing some of the final products here.

(This is one that set off a few tears for me).

(This group worked closely with the organisation they have used as a case study, and the voices that you hear are those of service users)

This is the assessment brief that they were given:

In small groups of 4-5, you are required to prepare and deliver a presentation, which will:Identify a specific community living within the UK and consider their social care needs and the ways in which social care is delivered. This should include:

A profile of the community;
Consideration of relevant social policy
An example/case study of a social care project/organisation working with this community
An evaluation of the importance of partnerships and collaboration in current social care policy and practice

Students would show us their animations and we would then ask them questions. These might be straightforward questions such as “why did you choose the organisation that you focused on?” or give them the opportunity to fill the gaps if they didn’t quite meet all the criteria in the animations, so might be “what were the social care needs of the community you refer to?” or “what sort of partners do they work with?” We discussed each animation after viewing it and wrote up the feedback there and then. We were pleased that the spread of marks was similar to that normally expected from a presentation.

We felt privileged to watch these animations,  and see the product of the groups working together.

Next up for us? Trawling through our reflections, and student feedback and planning what changes we’ll be making for next year.

Greenwich here we come: Academic Practice and Technology (APT) Conference: Connected Learning in an Open World

We are very excited to have had an abstract accepted for this conference in Greenwich in July.

Here is a link to the conference https://showtime.gre.ac.uk/index.php/ecentre/apt2014

This is our abstract:

During this presentation we will consider our experiences of changing assessment for level 5 students from a power-point presentation to a digital animation. We report on an innovative project that we have implemented over the last twelve months supported by a scholarship from Manchester Metropolitan University’s Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. The main aims of the project were to explore the use of animation in student assessment and to facilitate students to become partners in the co-production of learning materials.

The 2014 NMC Horizons Report identified that education technology will have a significant impact globally in higher education over the next 5 years (NMC, 2014). Growing use of social media, integration of online, hybrid and collaborative learning, and a shift from students as consumers to creators and partners are three of the key trends. A fusion of more dynamic, flexible and accessible learning approaches are central to the student experience and the report argues for more peer-to-peer collaboration.

Animations are an effective tool in learning and teaching (Lam and McNaught, 2006) and there are a myriad of high quality multimedia materials available online. According to Lam and McNaught (2006), these are accessible for undergraduate students. An initial literature review has identified that there is a gap in information for higher education practitioners about the effectiveness of using animation as a form of learning and assessment. The limited research that has been undertaken relates to science, computer and mathematics based programmes.

Our paper begins with an introduction to the existing research on using digital media as an assessment tool, and the co-production of course materials by students and lecturers. We then draw on our experiences of working with second year under-graduate social care students in developing animations about social care community-based organisations. We discuss our rationale for introducing this form of assessment, engagement with cross-institutional staff, our experiences of learning to animate, the involvement of voluntary and community sector partners and the unanticipated benefits of the project. The research findings that we have gathered will inform further work on the use of innovative forms of assessment.