Posted on April 11, 2012 by jeremy
This classic clip from a Father Guido Sarducci stand up routine was shown a couple of times as a conference I attended recently. Unfortunately, this caricature of the extent and depth of learning at university is not too far from the truth. Ideally, learning experience should translate into competence, but so long as assessments focus on testing memories rather than skills, the probability of this happening remains low.
This problem has become particularly acute in recent times as the gap between university curricula and the knowledge and skills required in a digital age has widened. It has been a hot topic in India for a while now, but as a quick Google search demonstrates, it is a global problem.
The solution? Well, Father Sarducci may have the right formula. Start by asking what a graduate should be able to do once they finish.
Hopefully, this should take longer than five minutes.
Filed under: Authentic assessment, Practical advice | Tagged: 21st century skills, examinations, Father Guido Sarducci, knowledge retention, standardised testing, student engagement, universities | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 8, 2012 by jeremy
Image source: telegraph.co.uk
An article published in the UK Sunday Times at the weekend and republished in The Australian yesterday adds another name to the growing band of influential figures seriously challenging the notion of university education — at least as it is currently structured. This time it is Larry Summers, former President of Harvard University, and erstwhile colleague of that other Harvard academic, Clayton Christensen, who has also set the cat amongst the pigeons with his most recent book, The Innovative University.
According to Summers, the explosion of knowledge, and our ability to access it through computers, demands change in the way universities operate. Furthermore, most companies look nothing like they did 50 years ago, yet undergraduate education looks much as it did in the middle of the 20th century. He also argues that:
Universities are going to have to be increasingly about pinpointing principles, ways of thinking, common values and common aspects of experience rather than trying to teach all there is to know because no one can know all there is to know.
This sounds to me like an argument for getting students to analyse rather than memorise, which may not appear a big deal except that it would mean a fundamental shift in the curriculum, pedagogy and assessment practices of a great many tertiary educational institutions around the world.
The image above is a common sight in universities everywhere. It does not resemble any real world setting where a graduate might be expected to apply their newly acquired knowledge and analytical skills. They are also using pens and paper which, while quaint, is not very 21st century.
Filed under: Authentic assessment, Online learning | Tagged: 21st century skills, disruptive innovation, examinations, Larry Summers, universities | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 25, 2006 by jeremy
This blog was pointed out me recently by Wing Lam which shows that OBOW-type exams are not something exclusive to U21Global.
Filed under: Authentic assessment | Tagged: examinations, MBA, OBOW | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 7, 2005 by jeremy
I gave a seminar today at U21G on OBOW (open book, open-web) examination design principles. The ppt file is pretty large (7.55MB), so I have also saved it in pdf format (still big at 2.51MB!). The main purpose of this presentation is to provide practical advice on the construction of this type of assessment instrument.
Filed under: Practical advice | Tagged: examinations, OBOW | Leave a Comment »