Virtual museums: enhancing graduate capabilities and the student experience through an innovative group assessment task

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Enhancing Higher Education, Theory and Scholarship Vol. 30

July, 2007, 651 pages
Published by
Geoffrey Crisp & Margaret Hicks
ISBN
0 908557 72 8
Abstract 

Faced with increasing class sizes, the pressure of administrative and research activities, and the time-consuming task of correcting and grading essays and exams, university teachers are encouraged to assign group projects that can be assessed during class time. Students, however, often complain that the work required to complete such tasks is disproportionate to the reward, and feel frustrated at working with peers who either try to dominate the group or do nothing at all. Moreover, the final presentations take up valuable discussion time during tutorials and trap the audience into a passive form of learning. Students are rarely given instruction about how to negotiate or work as a team, or asked to reflect on these things.

This paper describes and evaluates a unique type of collaborative learning activity that addresses these problems. It is appropriate for the tutorial setting and as a form of assessment. The activity involves groups of students preparing a Museum Exhibition to be installed and ‘open’ for 15 minutes at the beginning of a tutorial. The project is designed to foster research, negotiation and team-work skills, and incorporates a self-assessment component by which students must reflect on their own, as well as others’, performance as a team member. Moreover, the project encourages students to express (and be rewarded for) their individual talents, be these research, writing, design, or role-play, and hence can benefit those with poor English expression. An evaluation undertaken by students in an upper level History course at The University of Adelaide (summarised here) suggests ways in which the Museum Exhibition Group Project enhances both graduate capabilities and the student experience.

Keywords: group work, assessment, life-long learning, self-directed learning, collaborative learning, student experience

Virtual museums: enhancing graduate capabilities and the student experience through an innovative group assessment task

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Sendziuk, P.