Introducing technology enhanced assessment methods (TEAM) to health and science practical settings; bringing digital skills to laboratory and clinical skill sessions.
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In Science and Health practical sessions, the development of both technical and soft skills is essential in terms of both student learning and employability. The Irish Institute of Technology (IoT) sector places a major value on producing graduates who are ‘workplace ready’ with an emphasis on developing practical skills. It is widely recognised that assessment can influence student learning, effort and engagement. However, there is considerable scope for improvement in practical assessment practices at undergraduate level where concerns such as over-assessment, authenticity and graduate skill development are widely acknowledged (Bree, Dunne, Brereton, Gallagher, & Dallat, 2014; Hunt, Koenders, & Gynnild, 2012). The Technology Enhanced Assessment Methods (TEAM) project led by DkIT, partnering with IT Sligo, Athlone IT and IT Carlow is exploring the potential offered by digital technologies to address these concerns. It aims to develop a framework for applying the principles of good assessment and feedback to practical assessment and facilitate dialogue among stakeholders about what it is we want students to learn in practical classes and how our assessment can facilitate this. A peer network of discipline specific academics and students in the Science and Health field has been established. The first phase of the project identified approaches to potentially enhance assessment using digital technologies. The project was informed by a comprehensive literature review and a stakeholder needs analysis including students, staff and employers. To date 651 students across the 4 partner institutes responded to a survey examining perceptions of practical classes and digital technology in same. From this analysis, 4 priority areas for intervention have been identified: (i) Pre-practical preparation (videos, quizzes, augmented reality), (ii) Electronic laboratory notebooks and ePortfolios, (iii) Digital Feedback and (iv) Rubrics. Currently in the second phase of the project, these technologies are being piloted and evaluated across the four partner colleges.
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