For certain courses, I use presentations as a form of assessment, e.g., HRM, Motivation & Work Behaviour, Leadership courses, etc. For these courses, students present a coursework project that they have worked on for the semester. Given the large class sizes for some of these courses, students are required to present for only 5 minutes on their findings and recommendations.
For these presentations, I actively encourage students to be creative. No doubt, ‘professional’ presentations are useful, and give students experience presenting in a business style. In fact, many of our management courses already focus on professional/business style presentations, e.g., Business Communication, Business Strategy & Policy, etc.. However, I take a slightly different approach to professional presentations by asking students to think outside of the box when creating their presentations. In my personal experiences, students are not given enough opportunities to be creative, and this is one way I nurture their creativity. The results speak for themselves. Here are some examples of interesting presentations in class:
For a graduate course, each session is seminar-led by students. To gauge students’ participation, I previously used to evaluate in-class participation only. However, using this approach would result in students, who suffered from social anxiety, receiving few marks. To address this issue I implemented the use of reflective journals. Here, students are expected to either log their participation in class and/or log their reflection in class. I would often provide a question to stimulate their reflection. For instance, during Carnival week, I asked students to think about a ‘strategic job’ at a ‘business place’ that they wined on (or imagined themselves wining on). Below is a snippet from the journal.
The actual journal entries far exceeded my expectations. Not only are the journal entries rich in content, but students have been creatively using memes and drawings to supplement their reflections.
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)
I use multiple choice quizzes as a way to test students’ memory and understanding. The questions all test analysis (AACSB standards). The test itself is conducted online (Moodle), and each question is randomly chosen from a pool of questions. Each pool of questions cover the same topic and contain questions of similar difficulty. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that two students will receive the same exam, but all exams will cover the same topics and be of similar difficulty. Once the quiz closes, students are immediately provided with the scores and feedback on their responses. Based on past experiences in using MCQs, I supplement the exam with the following:
- Kahoot! practice questions in class when covering topics.
- “Boss Battles” at the end of each lesson. These “Boss Battles” are essentially practice true/false questions that help students prepare for the actual quiz. Students receive points for participating in boss battles, which then adds to their “Level” in a course. These “Boss Battles” were added based on students’ feedback.
- After the quiz, I discuss the most problematic questions in class.
For most courses, students are required to answer at least one case study question for the final exam. The purpose of the case study question is to help students tie their knowledge to a real-life situation. In class, case study discussions are used to aid students in their understanding of how to apply the material learned to a real-life organization or scenario.
For most courses, students are required to answer at least one essay question in a final exam. The essay questions are usually broad enough so that students can discuss at length their understanding of the topic.
Weekly Thought Papers
As a means of formative assessment, I require students of certain courses to submit weekly thought papers (typically 3 or 4 thought papers. The thought papers require students to provide a description of things they liked, disliked or thought could be done differently. So, their thought papers could begin with a question, a criticism or a problem, an alternative interpretation of experiments, or a suggestion for follow-up experiments. Students are provided with the structure, words/phrases to include and avoid, and the marking scheme. At the end of each thought paper, students are then given feedback in order to improve on their next submission. See sample thought papers here.
Student Learning Portfolio (SLP)
For a newly developed course, I have introduced student learning portfolios in order to assess students’ learning experience throughout the course. The SLP is a flexible tool that is intended to capture students’ intellectual development and academic skills in leadership communication. As such, the SLP contains evidence of both improvement and assessment of students’ learning. Students must focus on the process of learning, identify gaps in their learning, and use formative feedback to respond to these gaps, and thus demonstrate growth in particular areas of learning. Accordingly, development of the portfolio is both challenging and rewarding. The end-result of the SLP is a concise, well-organized portfolio detailing the learning that has taken place throughout the course. The SLP consists of weekly self-evaluations, and students are provided with a format to follow.
For a newly developed course, students are required to submit a self-reflective essay. A self-reflective essay requires students to take a deep look at themselves with respect to the course content. For the self-reflective essay, students are required to describe their experiences during the course and how it has changed specified knowledge, skills, and/or abilities (KSAs). In summary, the self-reflective essay should give students a clear idea of how the course has affected their KSAs, and thus what progress has been made during the course. Students are required to keep a personal journal and take notes during and/or after each class. Keeping notes of learning experiences and critical self-assessment will help students to develop their essays in a meaningful way.