Responsible for everything from hiring to program direction in the Faculty of Business and Economics, Deputy Dean Paul Jensen still finds time to do what he’s passionate about — teaching. With a background in industrial economics, Paul teaches a Managerial Economics intensive in one of the faculty’s post-experience degrees. “The students are currently working, looking for new tools and techniques they can use to improve their workplaces. Through the subject, I want them to develop their understanding of economics frameworks in a variety of contexts. The assessment reflects this, asking students to apply concepts to relatable scenarios”.
Paul’s passion and philosophy as an educator have consistently motivated him to continue looking for ways to improve his teaching. “I see myself as a facilitator when it comes to teaching. I like to take a first-principles approach to support my diverse group of students. And while I’d love to continue developing my teaching and students, it’s hard to find the time to make changes to my assessments and teaching practices with my schedule.”
Without having to make any drastic changes to the assessment design, Paul saw Cadmus as a low-cost way to make the assessment experience better for students and himself. “It’s easy to get into the trap of doing things the same way each year. I chose to use Cadmus quite late, but it felt like a good first step in improving the way I ran the take-home exam. It was consistent with my teaching philosophy and was an easy option to pick up and use”.
Paul used a Cadmus Template to create the assessment instructions, providing a clear purpose and task description to students. Using a template was an easy way for Paul to give students an understanding of the relevance of the task — encouraging deep engagement with the task. He also included a scaffolded guide that gave students more clarity around expectations in their responses. “Going through the process of transferring my current assignment into the template was incredibly valuable. It prompted me to take stock of the learning outcomes and how I was assessing them.” Paul also engaged with the Cadmus team to support him through this process, providing guidance around best practice for the assessment.
Even without significant changes to the assessment, the response from students suggested they had a supportive assessment experience. A student survey upon completion of the take-home exam indicated that students felt confident they understood the purpose of the assessment task, and how to complete the task to a high quality. “It was a small change but the structured format that Cadmus helped me develop sharpened the logic behind what I wanted students to achieve, and how I got them there”.
Reflecting on his experience, Paul believes he’s made a significant step forward in his journey towards teaching and learning improvement. “By moving the assessment into Cadmus, I feel like I’ve laid down the foundation for continuous improvement. Next time I run the subject, I want to use the tool to engage with students differently and make use of the Learning Analytics. I can see a lot of potential in learning about the effectiveness of assessments”. Ultimately for Paul, Cadmus represents a stress-free way for busy academics to improve on what they’re doing. “It’s a great way for teachers to re-think and evaluate. It helps you understand the connection between your teaching philosophy, the learning outcomes, and your assessments”.