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A real case of innovative authentic assessment during the pandemic

conference contribution
posted on 25.03.2022, 08:58 by Anh Thu Nguyen
Authentic assessment is seen as an innovative approach to delivering experiential learning in the context of real-world work (Rundle, 2016). According to Swaffield (2011), authentic assessment is an essential component of authentic learning, which is situated in real work tasks to help students develop workplace skills within an educational context. Therefore, the use of authentic assessment has been highly recommended in higher education institutions with a focus on developing students for future work and life. As the intent of authentic assessment is to place students in work-life situations, the pandemic with Covid-19 has posed unprecedented challenges to academics who wish to implement authentic assessment in the condition of lockdown and isolation. In this regard, we want to present a real case of how marketing academics at an offshore campus of an Australian university innovated the online teaching delivery and implementation of authentic assessment in the virtual learning environment. In 2020, the course team of Digital Marketing Communication delivered the course online for the first time. Although we had implemented authentic assessment, this was the first time we applied authentic assessment in the virtual learning platform. As this was the first time online teaching was delivered, the institution conducted a Pulse survey to get student feedback by the end of the first two weeks of online delivery. We used student feedback to adjust our teaching materials and methods to suit the new condition and students’ needs. We found that student engagement should be the key to online learning success. Student engagement increases student motivation, reduces the feeling of isolation, and improves student performance in online courses (Adnan and Anwar, 2020). Therefore, we focused on increasing student engagement by leveraging technology-enhanced learning environments, using narrated slides, video tutorials, and online lectures. We also innovated the use of authentic assessment to offer students a challenging project to engage them in working with real clients via online environments. In order to implement this type of authentic assessment, we collaborated with industry clients on online task projects which were taking place in real time. In this way, we worked with Unilever Lifebuoy to set an authentic assessment that required students to solve authentic marketing communication problems. The real task of Lifebuoy required students to collaborate in teams and to learn quickly about the current market conditions and consumer trends to be able to solve the problem. We supported students by organizing online client brief sessions, questions and answers sessions, and the final pitch session where students presented their marketing solutions to the client. We also organized weekly online consultations to guide students in the authentic learning process. That means, teachers were learning with students to support their learning in authentic assessment. All these activities were conducted on the virtual learning platforms, Collaborate Ultra and Teams. Interestingly, in this authentic assessment, students who were in isolation collaborated with each other in teams to solve authentic marketing communication problems. The outcome was tangible although the learning of authentic assessment was conducted virtually: 4 teams (24 students) entered the final round to pitch their marketing ideas to Unilever, winning in-kinds valued at 600 USD. Their marketing ideas were chosen for implementation by the Unilever Lifebuoy team, allowing students to see the tangible outcome of their authentic assessment in the real workplace. Student feedback in the course experience survey showed that this innovative type of authentic assessment greatly increased student engagement and collaboration. Students highly appreciated innovative authentic assessment via online platforms: “The best aspect of the course is that we get to do practical analysis and work with a real client, even in an online course” (Student evaluation)

History

Journal/Conference/Book title

Applied Learning Conference 2022, 20-21 January 2022, Online

Publication date

2022-01