Some authentic assessment activities for technology enhanced learning: Part 1

Professor Michael Sankey

This work is an extrapolation of work originally published in: Sankey, M. D. (2022). The state of Australasian online higher education post-pandemic and beyond. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 19(2), 14-26.

Presenting on Authentic Assessment
AssessmentTools and tips for use
Create an online social media advertisement on the topic you’re learningMost students today use some form of social media platform and are familiar with seeing ads being put in their faces. By students creating an image that speaks of a particular topic they could post this into a safe institutional collaboration tool like Microsoft Teams or Yammer or an ePortfolio platform, where other students can view it, ‘like’ it and comment on it. It could be put in Voice Thread with the students giving a verbal explanation of why they have chosen to do this in a particular way and what they were trying to convey. 
Online brainstorming using sticky notes a/synchronousThis can easily be done in OneNote or Padlet or even on a shared document on Google. Students can do this in smaller groups or individually at the same time or over a set period. It would be like pasting sticky notes on the wall in the classroom, but online. The key here is that there will be a synthesis of the ideas at some point, again either done individually or by the group. This is then presented as the outcome of the brainstorming activity.
Ask students to do a description a process, as though presenting to a noviceThis could be done synchronously or asynchronously. If live you would use Zoom, Teams or Collaborate to have students present their ideas. If a recording is required, they could do this on their phones and post the recording either into the LMS or Teams. Voice Thread is also a good tool for this. The trick here is to ask other students to ask questions as though they are the novice to try and tease out un-explored concepts. It a bit of a role play which adds an element of fun to this.
Create a chart, mind map, infographic, or diagram of a conceptInfographics are all the rage now and students are exposed to these in all walks of life. The trick here is to get them to precis their ideas and to bring them back to the core constructs. Again, this can be accompanied by a description, either in writing or in an audio explanation. This could be simply created in PowerPoint or Word, or a more sophisticated tool, but the tool is not the point it’s about how they represent their ideas. This can be posted onto a forum, put on voice thread, hosted in Teams, or presented live in Zoom or Teams meeting. They could prerecord the explanation also and post this with the visual.
Write a letter or email to a friend about what you learned this weekPen pals may not be the cool now, but the point is, we are getting the student to summarise their learning for the week as though they were explaining this to an old friend. Alternatively, they could create a 5-10-minute audio explanation as though they were explaining it on the phone. Initially, until they get the idea, this could be set us as a scaffolded scenario where they are given some guidelines as to how much they should cover, or provide an example so they can see what is required. Really there are many tools that could be used for this. It could be a blog or journal page in an ePortfolio tool, written in word and posted as an assignment. But in this case, I would not make it a shared document with other students as this could be seen as a bit threatening by some.
Write a poem, play, or dialogue about the topic of the weekAsking student to act out through something like a play (written), where actors could be used to play out a scenario around a given topic being studied. The art of creating a dialog from a concept get them to see a topic from different angles, putting on different shoes, as it were. A rhyming or acrostic poem may also get them to process information a wee bit differently to what they normally do. Again, this could be done in an ePortfolio tool as a blog or journal. If it is designed as a play, a group of students could even play this out in Zoom or Teams. It could also be recorded separately and placed online.
Create a policy memo or an executive summary for a BoardRole play, getting students to pretend to be somebody they are aspiring to be can provide valuable meta cognitive insights into how they may see themselves. Many board meeting are now held online and board members have to present their ideas to their colleagues. Like board meetings, papers, memos, etc, need to be provided ahead of time so others can read them, then the person presenting them does not have to rehearse all the concepts in the paper. In this scenario students would post their written work in to a team channel or forum set up for this scenario. Ideally students would take on different roles on the board. One might be the CEO, another the chief finance person, another the CIO. Each one need to see what is being presented through that lens (that they are representing).
Give an explanation for a multiple-choice questionThis can be done either by creating an open text field after each question, or some systems allow for an audio response. Typically, this would be done in the LMS, but could equally be done in a tool such as Voice Thread or Media streaming platform like Kaltura, Panopto or ECO360. This is where the use of AI can work for you as long-form text answers can look for common words or strings. However, AI engines need to be trained, so this would not be used in the first instance, but could be used in subsequent iterations.
Create a portfolio (online) of the things you have learnedNot dissimilar to the concept of getting students to put up a discussion post about what they have learned each week, but in this case, it is not as public. This is typically done in an ePortfolio tool such as PebblePad, Mahara, Chalk&Wire, Portfolium, etc., as a journal entry or the like. But could equally be done in the LMS if it has a portfolio feature. The lecturer does not necessarily need to read every post, but you can get the students to do a summary of their posts and present this as an assignment, that references back to the posts.
Review a book, play, performance, TED Talk or YouTubeReviews of a live or videoed performance or talk are very hard to cheat in, particularly if you change the scenario each time. Alternately, you could use the same video (or the like) but change the focus of what the students’ need to review. This could be done as a blog post, or as journaling activity in your ePortfolio tool, or simply as a document uploaded to the LMS. Ensure you put a reasonable work length on this, enough to capture the main thoughts but not too much as it becomes too onerous to read.
Peer assessment: 1 student marks 2 other students workPeer assessment, although no guarantee of academic integrity in itself it does have the added advantage of students being exposed to multiple perspectives on a particular topic. This can be done manually in the LMS or Teams, but is generally better done using a tool designed for this, such as FeedbackFruits, PebblePad, Spark Plus, and LMSs that have some basic features in them, such as Moodle’s Workshop module. Students submit their assignment, then get to review/mark two other assignments from two other students. The lecture may or may not want to moderate these and have the final say (depends on the level of study). An extension activity to this would be to get the students to then reflect on what they may have done differently given their time again, and this could be an additional element to be assessed. 
Record yourself doing a performance or presentationDon’t think of this as necessarily being a play, but it could be as simple as a student using their mobile phone to present a concept, pointing out things (objects, images, etc) as they talk through a concept, or walk around. They could pin some concepts/images/dot points to their wall and walk around the room speaking to them. This doesn’t need to be high-tech, in fact the less high-tech the better as it can increase authenticity.
Write a newspaper article or editorial, maybe with a photoGenerally, news journalists use the 5 W’S and 1 H approach in their reporting. That is: who, where, what, when, why, and how. A reporter must address all these five elements in their story. This is often associated with a descriptive image. The discipline of adhering to these elements takes a level of discipline that ensures both the main points are hit and that there is a more conversational flow to the story that is designed to resonate with the audience. This could be applied to many disciplines (not just journalists) and the stories could be shared as documents submitted to the LMS, but possibly more openly via OneNote (or the like), in the ePortfolio, as a blog post (as many news articles are now) or used as a peer assessment item in FeedbackFruits (or the like).   
Development of a product proposal for a new product or serviceThis is particularly useful in disciplines that produce a physical output, but also in disciplines like marketing and business. Or if it a service, one could use this, for example, in health-related disciplines. Not dissimilar to something like the social media ad, you can use tools such as Microsoft Teams or an ePortfolio platform, where other students can view the proposal, ‘like’ it and comment on it. You could use Voice Thread, where the students could also give a verbal explanation of the product or service. The output could be a document or a post.
Analysis and report on information or data in a graph, or an infographicInterpretation of visuals is an important skill for student to learn. More importantly it is hard for an AI engine (at this point) to do this for you. Presenting table-based data in image form (screen capture) with further enhance this. Equally it’s important for students for students to learn how to summarise information in a concise way. Presenting a visual to a student in an online test and asking them to provide an interpretation either verbally or in writing can be done in most LMSs or online exam platforms. You could ask student to record themselves doing this and have them submit the recording. Instructing students how to do this in Zoom or in PowerPoint live is one way, without having to bye expensive screen recording software.

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