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UCD TEACHING AND LEARNING / Projects
Module Enhancement
Workshops in Large First Year Modules
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Project: Workshops in Large First Year Modules
Project Team: Suzanne Guerin
Collaborator(s):

Funding:

Strategic Innovation Fund II

Timeline:

July 2011 - July 2013
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background:

Psychology, both in UCD and internationally, is a subject that is marked by large groups of students, particularly at first year and in introductory programmes. As a result there is a continuing interest in exploring best practice in the teaching of large groups (Benjamin 2000; Morling et al. 2008). Within this context, research on models of practice for large group teaching and assessment has the potential to inform practice in this broad area.

Improving the first-year experience is an important part of the mission of higher education in the National Education Strategy to 2030.

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goals:

The goals of this project include:
•    To develop and manualise a system of in-class workshops for use as both formative and summative assessment in large first year modules
•    To evaluate the contribution of in-class workshops in these settings

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Methods:

The project involves three key stages:
•    Phase 1: Develop a manual for in-class workshops in large first year modules. This phase will draw on a review of existing literature, documentary analysis, observation and reflection.
•    Phase 2: Explore students' views on the use of in-class workshops as summative assessment. This phase will use qualitative techniques to gather student views on the in-class workshops, and issues regarding its use as a formative assessment.
•    Phase 3: Evaluate the contribution of in-class workshops in large first year modules. This phase will involve the comparison of two modules, one using the in-class workshops and one using more traditional approaches.

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Results:

A model for the in-class workshops as a summative assessment has been developed based on the use of this method in a range of modules in 2011-2012. Feedback gathered from students completing a first year module using the method as formative assessment in Semester 2 2011-2012 suggested strong support for its inclusion as summative assessment.

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Next Steps:

Phase 2 took place in Semester 1 2012-2013 with the introduction of in-class workshops as a summative assessment in PSY10090, Introduction to Applied Psychology. Student’s views were gathered and the method adapted in response to the feedback. Phase 3 took place in Semester 2 2012-2013.