L&T Session C1: Making learning authentic: ‘real world’ assessments for masters level study

Jude Brereton,  Department of Electronics

AbstractPresentation | Recording

This workshop reported  on recent “real-world” assessment tasks incorporated into a new masters level programme in Audio and Music Technology.

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‘Real-world’ tasks are those which exist outside the ‘walls’ of the University campus e.g. they have their own life beyond the confines of the classroom and assessment submission.

Four different types of ‘real-world’ tasks were presented:

  • a research blog
  • a data-gathering exercise made available to the wider research community
  • a science communication event for school students
  • a self-promotion video

The student work and staff input for each of these assessments was described, alongside feedback from students who have successfully graduated from this programme. In particular student feedback on what they themselves thought they learnt from each activity and whether the activities had a life beyond graduation. The benefits of using authentic assessments in widening participation and embedding employability into programmes was evaluated.

Workshop participants were invited to explore the use of ‘real-world’ assessments in their own programmes.


Jude’s session allowed participants to consider the link between the discipline and the application of it beyond the course and institution. Within the session we explored a design process that first considers the learning outcomes you wish students to achieve, then generate ideas for different scenarios of involving people outside the institution to bridge the theory-practice gap. Take one of these scenarios further by identifying any constraints/risks and how these can be mitigated to still allow students a realistic practice-based experience meeting the learning outcomes.

What emerged were some very creative responses from participants, in many cases drawing upon the research expertise of the lecturer to identify where the theory-practice opportunities exist. In terms of employability, students through doing such forms of ‘real-world’ assessment have an experience they can refer to in their job applications and personal development plans.

The types of ‘real-world’ assessment demonstrated encouraged students to produce public-facing outputs, via videos and blogs. The E-Learning Development Team can support you in devising these activities and delivering training to enable students to create their own videos. See a similar approach in our Case Study provided by Sara Perry, Archaeology.

Matt Cornock (ELDT), Workshop Chair

One thought on “L&T Session C1: Making learning authentic: ‘real world’ assessments for masters level study

  1. Pingback: University of York Annual Learning Teaching Conference 2016 | York Learning & Teaching Forum

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