Promoting self-directed learning using a menu of assessment options: the investment model
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Undergraduate science students took an Inquiry course in their second (sophomore) year. The course was designed to explore the social life of scientific knowledge. They were given a set of eight assessment options: personal logs, targeted oral examinations, commentaries, mini-lectures, individual explorations, research proposals, book reviews, and problem-solving exercises. Each option had a specific maximum mark (percentage or grade point) associated with it. Students were permitted to select any set of options to obtain their total grade for the course. From the student's perspective, the course provided a valuable learning experience and enabled them to recognize the complexities involved in the process of generating scientific information and making it useful and relevant to the public. The opportunity given to select their own assessment options enhanced their learning. For me, as the sole instructor managing 51 students, the experience was rewarding.
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