Assessment drives learning

Date and time: April 17th 2019, 12:15 – 13:15

Location: ETH Zentrum, HG D18.1

Assessment drives learning: Linking practical exercises and final assessment

The essence of today’s topic is captured by a question well known to students and teachers alike: “Will this be on the exam?” Although seemingly simple, this question has far-reaching consequences for both learning and teaching. While students naturally focus their learning on the material that will be part of the exam, teachers can take advantage of this circumstance to steer student learning. In this Refresh Teaching event, we discuss how exercises during the semester and the final assessment can be linked to support learning and motivation.

Dr. Felix Friedrich and Dr. Hermann Lehner (D-INFK) report on their latest experiences with teaching and conducting exams in a course management system with an integrated development environment. They use an online system that allows students to work on open programming tasks in exercises and examinations. Students profit from a built-in auto-grader for immediate feedback. Felix and Hermann will talk about the importance of the human factor in such a process, the scalability of this approach, performance incentives and the perceived acceptance by the students.

Dr. Carlo Thilgen (D-CHAB) will share how he uses online exercises in a Moodle environment to complement the traditional weekly problem sets in the Organic Chemistry I and II courses for students of Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Health Sciences and Technology.  A prerequisite for sensible chemistry exercises in the inherently text-based Moodle environment is a tool for the input of molecular structure in the form of alphanumeric strings.  A new editor, MOSFECCS (MOlecular Structural Formula Editor and Calculator of Canonical SMILES1), was developed in collaboration with Dr. Bernhard Jaun.2  It opened up the possibility to implement the 1st year examination for the above-mentioned class of ca. 500 students as an online test within Moodle.  This not only eases exam corrections, but also constitutes an additional motivation for the students to solve online problems throughout the semester, thereby familiarizing themselves with the exam environment.

[1]  SMILES: Simplified Molecular-Input Line-Entry System

[2]  B. Jaun, C. Thilgen, Chimia 2018, 72, 48-54. Challenges in Creating Online Exercises and Exams in Organic Chemistry. doi: 10.2533/chimia.2018.48

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