In Science and Health practical sessions, the development of both technical and soft skills is essential in terms of both student learning and employability. The IoT sector in particular places a major value on producing graduates who are ‘workplace ready’ with an emphasis on developing practical skills. It is widely recognised that assessment can influence student learning, effort and engagement. However, there is considerable scope for improvement in practical assessment practices at undergraduate level where concerns such as over-assessment, authenticity and graduate skill development are widely acknowledged (e.g. Bree et al., 2014; Hunt et al., 2012). The Technology Enhanced Assessment Methods (TEAM) project, funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning under the 2015 Enhancement Fund, is exploring the potential offered by digital technologies to address these concerns.
This project is a collaboration led by Dundalk IT with partners Athlone IT, IT Carlow and IT Sligo which establishes a peer network of discipline specific academics in the Science and Health field. A key aim of the project is to identify approaches to assessment, using digital technologies which may enhance any challenges, and to pilot and evaluate these across the four partner colleges. In this presentation, we report on the activities of the first phase of the project in which a two-pronged approach has been taken: a comprehensive literature review and a stakeholder needs analysis. The process and preliminary findings will be presented. These include the identification of priority themes that cut across science and health disciplines, for example pre-practical preparation, varying the format of practical sessions, the inclusion of electronic laboratory reports, portfolios and apps to complement learning in practical sessions.