27 February 2019
Deakin, and indeed CRADLE, is lucky to count an ASCILITE 2018 keynote speaker, A/Prof Margaret Bearman, as one of its own. We were fortunate to be able to hear Margaret deliver a version of her keynote address last week, this time at Deakin’s Burwood campus. Following Margaret’s presentation, our CRADLE suggests… series was officially launched.
Reimagining university education in a digital world – ASCILITE keynote
In order to determine what a university education needs to do, Margaret’s three key arguments were:
- We need to consider what it is to live in a digital world;
- We need to focus on what learners might be called upon to do in the near future; and
- We therefore need to reimagine what and how we assess.
This was illustrated by the notion that technology, and particularly AI, can do some things very well – it can follow rules, confirm patterns, and do repetitive tasks. Humans not only have these skills, but they are also good at setting rules, detecting quality, and being creative and imaginative outside of rules and parameters. Universities should aim to develop this latter set of skills – a major one is evaluative judgement – and seek evidence of this through a range of means, including portfolios of work and attendant reflections.
The audience appeared to agree with the broad ideas that Margaret presented, but the questions and comments suggested that, as always, implementation may be a challenge. Deakin’s School of IT are already making inroads on this front, with Andrew Cain’s Doubtfire model – which is one model proposed in our edited book, Reimagining assessment in a digital world (hopefully to be published late this year or early next).
In such a reimagining, Margaret recommended that everything is up for grabs. Marks, grades, assignments, exams: we need to consider how these fruitfully contribute to student learning, with an aim to develop individuals who can operate in a digitally mediated world. This is just the beginning, I think, of a revolution!
CRADLE suggests… launch
After Margaret’s talk, Deakin Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching & Learning) Marcus O’Donnell officially launched our CRADLE suggests… series. We’ve been working on these for about a year now, and they are designed as one-page ‘crib sheets’ based off our research projects. They don’t require much time to read, but contain the key ideas and some suggestions (not orders or commands) which may help academics to implement research-based ideas without having to wade through piles of information. At least, we hope that is the effect.
Let us know what you think and how you go!