Ross has shared more tips and advice to support teachers considering exam alternatives in Cadmus in response to the COVID-19 teaching changes. Learn more
With years of experience working as a journalist himself, Ross Monaghan teaches a Strategic Writing subject. "In my unit, students need to be able to strategically plan communications and write persuasively. Like improving in a sport, the only way they get better is by doing it!" Knowing his students needed plenty of practice writing and editing, Ross looked for opportunities to create more authentic learning experiences throughout the unit.
Through the Deakin Exam Initiative, Ross was able to turn his invigilated assessment into an authentic alternative, that still had the assurances and security he needed. "I initially ran an in-class multiple-choice quiz. It was quite blunt, and I realised it didn't effectively fit with the outcomes I wanted students to achieve. It was the perfect assessment to rethink." Ross also knew he didn't want any significant changes to his workload, so any new tools he used had to be easy and intuitive.
Ross redesigned his assessment to build upon learning activities in the unit. It tasked students with preparing a media brief in response to the analysis of a new scenario. He found the process of creating the assessment in Cadmus incredibly simple, with minimal impacts on his workload. "It's very easy to use. I think it took me less time than if I'd tried to set up something similar through the LMS. And I definitely had less technical issues than when I've used the LMS quiz functionality."
Ross used a Cadmus Template to create the instructions. This gave students a lot of clarity and a structured process to follow while completing the task. "The checklists in Cadmus made it easy to guide students through the assessment. The extra support helped them feel a lot more confident, especially in a test situation."
Wanting to create an authentic experience for students, Ross knew it would be important for students to understand the time-pressures of working in media. "I wanted the task to have a timed-element, so I released it for 30 minutes. I liked that Cadmus was a secure, online environment as well. It gave me the assurance I needed to run an effective in-class test alternative, with access to added analytics in the case of misconduct."
Reflecting on the assessment, Ross felt that things couldn't have been smoother for students or himself. "It's definitely a concern when you adopt a new tool, whether you can be confident that students will have a good experience. I didn't give the students any warning they were using a new system, and they picked it up right away. There were barely any issues." The class appreciated the simple layout in Cadmus and felt like they could really focus on the task at hand. "It's a clean interface and a simple workflow. The students were able to concentrate on their work, instead of learning to use the LMS or a new system."
From Ross' perspective, managing and marking the assessment was just as easy as setting it up. "Marking is always a big factor when it comes to tests and exams, but it was intuitive and fast using the Cadmus integration with Turnitin's Feedback Studio — especially with multiple markers."
However, the greatest value Ross saw was in the foundations he'd laid down for future assessments and exams. "There's a significant amount of time that goes into writing and updating multiple choice questions and answers. With this alternative, I only needed to provide a new scenario, which I can easily change for future assessments. And the best bit is that students are doing better preparation and improving through assessments like this.”