All entries for February 2023
February 27, 2023
A pedagogy of kindness: the cornerstone for student learning and wellness
This short THE Campus piece outlines a pedagogy founded on human connection, care and compassion that improves student learning outcomes. It suggests 12 ways that you can incorporate a pedagogy of kindness into your teaching practice:
February 20, 2023
Blog 6: How inclusive is your assessment strategy?
By Leda Mirbahai (Warwick Medical School)
Assessments are a fundamental part of student experience - with students learning by doing, i.e. by engaging with assessment tasks and then, after submission through the feedback they receive on their performance and progress Internal and External Examiner often ensure that assessment strategies are reliable, effective, and accurate, however, whether they are inclusive is often overlooked.
Considering the diversity of our student population, it is clear that ‘one size fits all’ approach to assessment design and delivery is not an inclusive assessment strategy which links with diversification of our assessment approaches (a point that we will come back to shortly). The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), UK’s quality code for higher education, lists 10 guiding principles on expectations and practices for assessment which are:
- Assessment methods and criteria are aligned to learning outcomes and teaching activities.
- Assessment is reliable, consistent, fair and valid.
- Assessment design is approached holistically.
- Assessment is inclusive and equitable.
- Assessment is explicit and transparent.
- Assessment and feedback are purposeful and supports the learning process.
- Assessment is timely.
- Assessment is efficient and manageable.
- Students are supported and prepared for assessment.
- Assessment encourages academic integrity.
As mentioned, a criteria of good assessment ‘strategy’ is to be inclusive and equitable. If one really reflects on the 10 principles, they are all interlinked. For example, it is very difficult to demonstrate an assessment strategy that is inclusive where assessment loads are not manageable for our students or students don’t receive equitable level of support. With Toolkits such as ‘Embedding inclusive assessment reflective toolkit’, a project funded by QAA, becoming available we can reflect on the assessment strategy of our courses and programmes by considering how well we align to attributes of an inclusive assessment. The toolkit starts to encourage a triangulation critic of our assessment approaches by involving major stakeholders from students, academics and leaders in the process and asking some key reflective questions. Reflecting on the 9 attributes of inclusive assessment as mentioned by this toolkit, most questions are basically reflecting on the principles of good assessment, which in my view indicates that if your assessment aligns to the principles, it should promote inclusivity.
As an academic staff leading the assessment strategy for a new UG course at WMS, I have been involved in the planning and delivery of a course level assessment strategy. As the course is new, it has removed some of the challenges of trying to alter and adjust existing assessments for individual modules. This raises an important concept; assessment strategies should be seen at course/programme level. Going back to principles of good assessments, we need to demonstrate how our assessments map to course level, year level and module level learning outcomes as well as ensuring students are supported and prepared for assessments. This highlights the gradual building of our learner’s skills and knowledge in a spiral curriculum and enabling them to receive continuous feedback on their progress in a meaningful way. Learners need to be able to visualise and reflect on their progress across the programme and to achieve this, our assessments in one module (skills, attribute and knowledge) need to meaningfully build on the previous modules; hence programme level approach being more desirable.
Using diverse assessments is a great way of acknowledging that ‘one size fits all’ approach to assessment design and delivery is not an inclusive assessment strategy. However, this also doesn’t mean that we should sprinkle our assessment programmes with as many different modes of assessments possible. Introducing too many different modes of assessments that are not revisited or are not utilising or building on skills and knowledge of a learner would just add to the level of stress encountered by our learner as it means our students need to learn a new and unfamiliar assessment approach just to use it once! Therefore, diversification should be achieved in a meaningful way rather than just for the sack of introducing new assessment modes.
Finally, in my view one of the most important aspects of a good assessment strategy is continuous reflection and improvement. There is no fixed perfect assessment strategy as our learners and their requirements are constantly changing. An assessment strategy that is developed and never revised will soon become unfit for the purpose it was developed. I know this as I am already making a list of changes that we need to embed into our assessment strategy and the course is only 3 years old! So I leave you with one question. How inclusive is your assessment strategy?
The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education (2018) UK Quality Code for Higher Education advice and guidance: Assessments.
Embedding inclusive assessment-Reflective toolkit (2022), a QAA funded project. Developing a Set of Inclusive Assessment Design Attributes for use Across the Higher Education Sector (qaa.ac.uk)
This is the 6th blog in our diverse assessment series. Previous blogs can be found here:
Blog 1: Launch of the learning circle (Isabel Fischer & Leda Mirbahai): https://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/wjett/entry/interested_in_diverse/
Blog 2: Creative projects and the ‘state of play’ in diverse assessments (Lewis Beer): https://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/wjett/entry/creative_projects_and/
Blog 3: Student experience of assessments (Molly Fowler): https://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/wjett/entry/a_student_perspective/
Blog 4: Assessment Strategy – one year after starting the learning circle (Isabel Fischer & Leda Mirbahai): https://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/wjett/entry/one_year_on/
Blog 5: Learnings and suggestions based on implementing diverse assessments in the foundation year at Warwick (Lucy Ryland): https://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/wjett/entry/learnings_suggestions_based/
Join the Diverse Assessment Learning Circle: If you would like to join the learning circle please contact the co-leads: Leda Mirbahai, Warwick Medical School (WMS) (Leda.Mirbahai@warwick.ac.uk) and Isabel Fischer, Warwick Business School (WBS) (Isabel.Fischer@wbs.ac.uk). This LC is open to non-WIHEA members.
February 13, 2023
AI for Good: Evaluating and Shaping Opportunities of AI in Education
By Isabel Fischer, Leda Mirbahai, and David Buxton
Following the rise of awareness of the opportunities (and threats) of artificial intelligence (AI) in education, we have created a task and finish group which aims to review and ‘imagine’ the opportunities and challenges of AI in education, incl. assessments. Our vision is to deploy AI as a tool to support all students, independent of background and socio-demographic characteristics, to be successful in their studies and in their future work, while ensuring academic integrity, as well as to support educators feel confident in using AI effectively in promoting learning. We are working in five (sub)groups:
- General AI in Education (AIEd) Opportunities & information sharing
- Novel and Diverse Assessment Designs
- Feedback, Marking, Authorship Detection
- Designing Teaching Content - ‘what is out there being developed?’
- 'Red Team': AI Ethics and Academic Integrity
As we are still interested in colleagues from within Warwick as well as other institutions and the wider community of stakeholders to join us, here some further information per (sub)group:
1) General AI in Education (AIEd) Opportunities & information sharing: We review how to capture, shape, and disseminate the opportunities for both learner-facing and educator-facing AI, mainly in HE but also considering how HE can support the secondary and even primary school sector (e.g. how to help teachers to experiment with different forms of AI in a low-stake environment). We also consider the benefits, such as reducing inequality, fairness and democratisation that AI offers, evaluating how we can support SDG 4 (equitable and quality education) and SDG 10 (reducing inequalities). We want to help educators to know how to potentially embrace recent AI developments for their professional practice. Combined with sub-group / Strand 5, the ‘red team’ we also want to inform colleagues on research (similar to mini literature reviews) on topics such as Algorithmic Fairness.
Target Output: A WIHEA page that is informative for colleagues new to AIEd (explanations, links to other resources, links to discussions / brainstorming exercises / blogs, suggestions for their practice)
2) Designing Assessments: We review the opportunities for designing and setting diverse assessments (Learner-facing), including embedding our work within our different Learning Circle’s work. It is in this strand that most of the student co-creation will take place.
Target Output: WIHEA page, blogs, and talks
3) Feedback and Marking: We review the opportunities of using AI for formative feedback (Learner-facing), summative feedback (Educator-facing), ‘AES – automated essay scoring’ (educator-facing), and stylometry (authorship authentication) as well as ChatGPT detection. One aspect of this strand (but not constrained to this strand) is also ‘Move fast, Break fast, Learn fast’ – doing small scale experiments and testing them (e.g., Consulting Students will experiment with mind maps this term and then can, but don’t have to, submit their work to the Warwick AI Essay Analyst for formative feedback and we can analyse their work).
Target Output: A WIHEA page that disseminates information and possibly diffusion of the actual Warwick AI Essay Analyst tool at Warwick, potentially producing research output
4) Designing Module and Lesson Content & Recommendations for institutional Developments / Purchases: Educator-facing, we review tools and initiatives that might help educators in planning and organising their modules and lessons, as well monitoring their email and forum entries. This group looks at all educator-facing areas besides designing assessments (group 2) and providing feedback on assessments (group 3). This group might also make recommendations to the institution on what software to build or to purchase etc.
Target Output: A WIHEA page that disseminates information, possibly making recommendations for in-house developments / purchase of external software packages
5) A ‘red team’ acknowledges that AI is here to stay and ensures we follow AI Ethics guidelines and that everybody is clear about the risks. This team also reviews and mitigates the challenges to Academic Integrity more broadly. Moreover, it reviews the risk of bought-in products from EdTech and Tech companies, ensuring that AI Ethics is applicable both for in-house and off the shelf, bought-in products.
Target Output: A WIHEA page that provides information for colleagues worried about AIEd (explanations, links to other resources, links to discussions) especially on the topic of AI Ethics and Academic Integrity (what is OK to do, what isn’t – where should students / educators draw the line). Collaborating with stand 1, this group might want to explain (do a high-level literature review / providing links to important research) aspects of AI Ethics / Academic Integrity, such as explaining concepts such as ‘Algorithmic Fairness’. Building on work by other groups, e.g., last year’s ‘Online Assessment Data Ethics Group’, this group might want to develop a proposal for SLEEC (https://warwick.ac.uk/services/gov/committees/sleec/) and/or to provide guidance and advice to EPQ on suitable policy and guidance where appropriate.
Proposed Overall Target for entire Task and Finish Group, i.e. across the five groups / strands: Have some tangible outputs (WIHEA page, blogs, talks) that support colleagues when they embrace change in an ethically sound way that respects all stakeholders, especially learners and educators. Ideally collaborating with other universities, other education providers, and industry. Possibly develop a proposal for SLEEC and/or provide guidance and advice to EPQ on suitable policy and guidance where appropriate.
Please email Isabel.email@example.com if you are interested in joining any of the groups.
Please email Leda.Mirbahai@warwick.ac.uk if you are interested in joining our open WIHEA Diverse Assessment Learning Circle with interesting talks, such as our talks this month on Synoptic Assessments and on Democratising Assessments.
February 06, 2023
Virtues in the digital world – The Jubilee Centre conference presentation recordings
The Jubilee Centre is a “pioneering interdisciplinary research centre focussing on character, virtues and values in the interest of human flourishing”. In 2021, its annual conference focused on ‘Virtues in the digital world’ and explored questions such as:
- What are the characteristic virtues and vices of digital natives?
- Have social media altered friendships and human relationships more broadly?
- Are digital technologies dehumanising society?
Have a quick look at the conference recordings and save any that look interesting to watch later. Some highlights include:
- Digital citizenship: living well together in the information age.
- Developing self-knowledge and self-understanding through social media interactions.
- Teaching virtue virtually: can the virtue of tolerance of diversity of conscience be taught online?