Pedagogical innovation in uncertain times: Redesigning assessments for online delivery, and preparing students for changing industry practices
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In this paper, we explore the changes implemented in a professional writing unit in response to both a shift to online teaching and a desire to create a more vocationally focused teaching environment. The redesigned Group Discussion assessment is modelled on a recruitment process used by government and large corporations. Students are assigned to groups, presented with previously unseen notes on a crisis, and given 45 minutes to produce a written response. The students are observed during their group work in order to assess their skills in critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, and teamwork. The success of this redesigned assessment—as evidenced by positive student feedback, reduced student anxiety, improved learning outcomes and assessment performance, and improved preparation for changing industry practices—has prompted us to consider implementing similar changes across the curriculum. Therefore, we also discuss what other English subject areas might benefit from a similarly innovative pedagogical approach.
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