Engaging students with innovative group assessment creating academic posters
On our MSc in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship we have long used group work as a way to encourage social learning. Many of our modules use group presentations, which are a good way to evaluate team work and students’ ability to condense complex topics into a few slides or minutes. However, often students do not pay sufficient attention to the content and coherence of their slides. They also often do not rely sufficiently on academic references to support their presentations and there may be an overall lack of analytical depth.
For “Global Challenges, Emerging Technologies and Governance” (BMAN 73952) we ask students to prepare academic posters for their group assignment. We ask groups to focus on a specific emerging technology and research how it can support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Posters are a visual representation of students’ research on the topic.
The course first ran in spring 2020 and due to the pandemic, which saw all teaching move online, we asked students to create e-posters. Students then presented the posters to their classmates and responded to questions.
Evaluation / Student Feedback
All groups presented good to outstanding posters, which to us shows the success of this assessment method. None of the groups had issues with team work and every single person was very engaged with this task and the presentation session.
In the unit surveys and informally via email we received the following feedback from students:
The posters “provided a deeper understanding of the topics and it was really fun making them.”
“The Poster was a great idea and a steep learning curve”
“A creative exercise and very conducive to good group work.”
“Every group delivers different ideas and technologies and I do learn a lot from the poster session.”
The main challenge highlighted by students related to the amount of work going into an effective poster. They felt that it should be more than 40% of the mark to reflect the effort they had put in. The high level of engagement with this task, however, also demonstrates how much students enjoyed the challenge and often they conducted more research than they would do for a different assessment format.
Posters can help students to understand the research process. They encourage students to summarise their research in a creative and concise fashion. They needed to select, condense and organise information they collected as part of their research, which is one of the main benefits of this assignment as it can support deep learning.
Students took full advantage of the new assessment format. They created engaging and informative posters, which demonstrated their ability to select and organise information. In the presentation Q&A they showed excellent understanding of their selected technology.
- Give students guidance on what an academic poster is and links to relevant websites.
- Nudge students into deciding on a topic early, e.g. via a group tutorial.
School: Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS)
Academic: Cornelia Lawson & Philip Shapira
Course: Elective on MSc Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship, BMAN73952 Global Challenges, Emerging Technologies and Governance
Cohort Size: 40-50 students
Themes: Innovative Assessment