One of the first tasks on the project was in week two, where I spoke to a handful of students and recorded their views on assessment, the use of technology in assessment and whether they thought their assessments had any links to employability The initial findings were encouraging.
A student from the Business School found it hard to link skills for his assessments to skills which he thought employers would be looking for. The use of ICT in his assessments was limited and not expected from his tutors and any use of technology to enhance his assessment was from his own initiative and using his own resources. In this case his Apple laptop and software packages available to him, such as keynote. His view was that employability skills and the use of technology were absent from his assessments and was something that he was addressing himself, with no support or guidance. This is not perhaps a typical view as a group of international students from the same College were actively using technology in their study group and were using technology to display financial data and methodology in their assessments. They were also keenly aware that this was beneficial to them when looking at future careers. They were developing skills which they believed employers would be looking for.
Many students spoke about group work and their experience of using cameras in presentations. All enjoyed this process and would like to do it again. Although there were some anxious comments, such as “time consuming” and “lack of support”. The students could see the benefits of using such techniques, however it was pointed out that if students were being asked to work more creatively with technology, then is had to be balanced with traditional methods of assessments due to the time constraints.
The views of an English student were that the use of video in presentations also engaged the students who were watching when compared to a more traditional oral presentation. Her belief was that the use of technology in her assessments, gave her valuable skills and that employers were looking at this generation and how they use technology, and what the employee can offer the employer in this area.
Aware of the lack of literacy in ICT and reluctance to use technology, some students were willing to engage in this area to improve skills, acknowledging that these were skills that employers would be looking for.
To finish this post with some sense of balance, two Law students who I interviewed were extremely against the use of technology in their assessments. Skills relating to ICT for example should be acquired via extracurricular activities was one belief. Alternative assessments that were relevant to producing discipline specific skills were seen as necessary and should be used more often. The use of oral presentations was given as an example by the student but when asked if he thought the process could be enriched by technology, with the example of being able to present media to enforce the argument, it was dismissed.
From the small number of students interviewed it was clear that they are aware of the need to be developing skills in their assessments which enhance prospects with future employers. More students will be interviewed so that a clearer picture can be drawn for each of the Colleges we will be working with.