higher education

Resources: assessing unessays

The IEF seminar on unessays allowed me to present my conception of unessays to a group of interested and enthusiastic staff, all of whom had some excellent input into the assessment of the unessays.

The introduction and presentation of unessays – and my plea for help – are found in the PowerPoint slides: Unessay presentation – assessment

The key take-home messages I had from this exercise was firstly that I was overcomplicating things, it’s important to recognise commitment and engagement, a strong narrative is important, and that it was perfectly fine to have generic, subjective criteria. After a further discussion, a framework for supporting the further development of the assessment into a portfolio approach was set up.

As a result, I have decided on the following approach – one for this year (within my existing assessment framework) and one for next year, where I can change the framework to suit a more integrated unessay approach.

The key messages I want to integrate into this assessment criteria is a set of objective set criteria and a set of more subjective generic criteria. This will allow for students to have a grounding to their approach.

2017/18 Requirements

  • Unessay, one page artist statement and bibliography of supporting literature
  • Mid point informal review, present your idea to the class & get feedback (mid-Feb)
  • Due in class (and filmed if a one-off presentation); photographed for magazine
  • Submit supporting material (e.g. any written components, links to websites, etc.) electronically
  • Unessay show

2018/19 Requirements

In 2018/19 I will remove several other assessments and replace them with a more integrated assessment (remove pilot study write up; remove reflective journal; remove unessay as of 2017/18).

  • Agreement between tutor and student on the approach and topic by end December
  • Unessay, including: portfolio, showing engagement & planning; unessay with 1 page artist statement
  • Midpoint review, initial feedback: 3 min presentation on your unessay idea & plan (mid-Feb); peer reviewed
  • Submission in class (filmed if one-off); photographed for magazine
  • Submission electronically for written components (e.g. lyrics, articles, etc., links to websites)
  • Unessay show (physical items; photographs/videos, etc.)

Requirements for portfolio:

  • Weekly write up of surgery sessions (at least 5) and midpoint review.
  • Production journal for unessay.
  • Any associated material (e.g. drafts, sketches, design documents, photographs)
  • Bibliography of supporting literature
  • Unessay
  • 1 page artist statement

General Marking Scheme (items in brackets for 2018/19)

Objective criteria:

  • Agreed by tutor
  • Accuracy of information used
  • Production quality commensurate with approach
  • Aimed at non-specialists in the subject

Subjective criteria:

  • Artist statement (and portfolio) shows underlying thought and link with the final year project
  • Depth of commitment and engagement (shown through portfolio)
  • Compelling:
  • Critical and active engagement with the source material
  • Clear and insightful connection with research
  • Effective
  • Chosen medium works persuasively with the design and polish of the unessay
  • Strong narrative present

Overall it was a very successful workshop and I would like to thank the participants for their constructive discussion and assistance in applying this approach in my teaching!

January workshop: ‘Assessing Unessays’

Dr Catherine Flick (Faculty of Technology) will facilitate this workshop through active learning in Vijay Patel 1.11 from 1-2pm on Tuesday 16 January 2018.

Abstract
An unessay, that is, anything that isn’t an essay, is a creative assessment technique that students can use to focus their thinking, explore alternative explanations, and take advantage of their varied skillsets. Unessays have been used successfully in mostly Arts and Humanities subjects, but this year I am trialling the approach with final year business computing students in an effort to get them to explore their final year research project topics in a different way. This talk will explain the philosophy behind and methodology of unessays, their application in a DMU context, and then focus on a discussion around fair assessment criteria.

December seminar: ‘Peace Education: Pedagogy and Interventionist Research’

Dr Rob Perry (Education Studies, HLS) will facilitate this workshop through active learning in HU 2.32 from 1-2.30pm on Wednesday 13 December 2017.

All are welcome. No booking required.

Abstract
Peace Education is ‘about Peace and for Peace’. Peace Education relates to a variety of topics: Human Rights, Disarmament, Development, Environment, Multi-culturalism and Conflict Resolution…and seeks to understand context, background, causes and effects….it also seeks to make an intervention, to changes mind sets, to Educate in order to change.  In Northern Ireland (as elsewhere) I argue that ‘Peace Education’ requires ‘Integrated Education’. My research contains the views of Primary School and Secondary School Principals and Head teachers to ‘Peace Education’ in Northern Ireland.  I also sought via my research to encourage politicians in Northern Ireland, to consider and reflect on how historical events are commemorated in a post conflict society, and what bearing they have on reconciliation.

Slides for IEF Seminar: academic alienation and mass intellectuality

Our first seminar of the 2017/18 season takes place today from 13:00-14:00 in Hugh Aston, room 2.32, led by Richard Hall.

The slides are appended below.

Abstract

As one response to the secular crisis of capitalism, higher education is being proletarianised. Its academics and students, encumbered by precarious employment, overwhelming debt, and new levels of performance management, are shorn of any autonomy. Increasingly the labour of those academics and students is subsumed and re-engineered for value production, and is prey to the vicissitudes of the twin processes of financialisation and marketization. At the core of understanding the impact of these processes and their relationships to higher education is the alienated labour of the academic, as it defines the sociability of the University. This paper examines the role of alienated labour in academic work, and relates this to feelings of hopelessness (or world-weariness/Weltschmerz) and academic ill-being, in order to ask what might be done differently. The argument centres on the role of mass intellectuality, or socially-useful knowledge and knowing, as a potential moment for overcoming alienated labour.

IEF Seminar: academic alienation

Our first seminar of the 2017/18 season will take place on Tuesday 31st October from 13:00-14:00 in Hugh Aston, room 2.32.

Richard Hall will be leading the following session:

On the alienation of academic labour and the possibilities for mass intellectuality

Abstract

As one response to the secular crisis of capitalism, higher education is being proletarianised. Its academics and students, encumbered by precarious employment, overwhelming debt, and new levels of performance management, are shorn of any autonomy. Increasingly the labour of those academics and students is subsumed and re-engineered for value production, and is prey to the vicissitudes of the twin processes of financialisation and marketization. At the core of understanding the impact of these processes and their relationships to higher education is the alienated labour of the academic, as it defines the sociability of the University. This paper examines the role of alienated labour in academic work, and relates this to feelings of hopelessness (or world-weariness/Weltschmerz) and academic ill-being, in order to ask what might be done differently. The argument centres on the role of mass intellectuality, or socially-useful knowledge and knowing, as a potential moment for overcoming alienated labour.