Updating Assessment Styles: Website Development Rather Than Report Writing for Project Based Learning Courses

BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT

While teaching methods tend to be updated frequently, the implementation of new innovative assessment tools is much slower. For example project based learning has become popular as a teaching technique, however, the assessment tends to be via traditional reports. This paper reports on the implementation and evaluation of using website development as an assessment tool for a project based learning course. A questionnaire was used to gain student feedback in a first year engineering course where the website based assessment tool was introduced. It was found that developing a website rather than writing a report was not an onerous task for the majority of students, it allowed the students to be more creative and the students enjoyed the experience. Initial concerns with potential bias towards those that were studying computing were unfounded and in fact the students not studying computing reported that it was easier than those with a computing background. The website allowed the students to apply their visual communication skills, be more creative and practise communicating with a more general audience. The use of a website as an assessment tool could easily be adapted to a range of courses aimed to enhance communication (both written and visual) and encourage creativity.

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