Dr Gary Saunders – College of Social Science – School of Social and Political Sciences – Senior Lecturer – Staff Profile
In the School of Social and Political Sciences, students studying Sociology of Education were invited to collaborate in designing the marking criteria for a 100% weighted presentation. The rationale for collaboratively engaging with students in this way is grounded in the philosophy of Student as Producer. This approach to learning and teaching is an attempt to connect the often-disparate activities of teaching and research within universities by embedding research and research-like activities within the undergraduate curriculum through collaborative and experiential learning. Connecting teaching and research in this way is referred to as scholarship and entails the creation, reflection, and dissemination of new knowledge. Those involved in this process are referred to as scholars, which includes academics, students and professional staff and is grounded in the notion that we all have a lot to learn from each other. Pedagogically, this is informed by Lev Vygotsky’s work on the ‘zone of proximal development’ in that scholars work collaboratively with a range of ‘more knowledgeable others’ to develop skills and critical thinking. This process entails meaningfully engaging scholars in: (i) research and research-like activities; (ii) curriculum design, delivery and evaluations; (iii) in the democratic decision-making processes of the School, College and University; and, (iv) in working collaboratively with local, national and global organisations and stakeholders and part of its civic engagement mission.
Students were invited to collaboratively develop the marking criteria for Sociology of Education. The module is a Level 5 15-credit optional module with an optional formative assessment (presentation plan) and an individual pre-recorded presentation (100% weighting). In Week 1 workshops, students were provided with an introduction to marking criteria and their importance for learning and teaching, assessment design, and marking and feedback. In preparation for Week 2, the students were asked to read the draft marking criteria for the module on Talis Elevate and make comments and suggested amendments. In Week 2 workshops, we spent 30 minutes in class discussing the marking criteria and the comments the students made on Talis Elevate. By the end of the Week 2 workshop, we finalised the marking criteria and I wrote this up and posted it on BlackBoard. The marking criteria was then used the create a marking rubric on Turn-it-in.
Outcomes and Benefits
Overall, the students enjoyed discussing the marking criteria and learning more about its importance. Students engaged well with the task and made some valuable contributions. For example, the students asked for more detail to be included in the marking criteria about how many theories they needed to use to get particular grades and how much detail they needed to provide:
Furthermore, this clearly helped the students’ performance in the assessment where the average mark was 65; the highest 82 and the lowest 44. The students commented that it made them feel part of the module, better prepared for the assessment and allowed them to better understand their marks and feedback.