Designing Group Assessment for Motivation: journalism students’ experience of learning HTML/CSS

Hannaford, L. (2015). Designing Group Assessment for Motivation: journalism students’ experience of learning HTML/CSS (MSc Education with Technology). Edinburgh Napier University (Smart, F., Kemmer, R.).



Journalism has become a digital enterprise requiring Higher Education courses to
re-evaluate their curricula, teaching methods and assessment. This has led some
universities to introduce technical skills such as HTML/CSS into their courses but
the challenge is to teach and assess it in a way that motivates journalism
students to learn these digital, web-based skills. This study borrows from
phenomenology to investigate the lived experience of a cohort of post-graduate
journalism students at a UK university who were required to work in small groups
to produce a web-based, multimedia journal for their final summative assessment
on an Online Journalism Unit. Whilst group work has many benefits for enhancing
collaborative learning, it can cause anxiety when group members do not
contribute equal effort to the assessment. Using Expectancy-Value Theory, this
study examines whether students were motivated to accomplish the task and
whether group assessment was an appropriate method to enhance their learning
of HTML/CSS. The study found that not only were the students motivated by this
assessment design but also, in contrast to much of the literature on group
assessment, their experience of group work was defined by harmony, loyalty and
an “all for one, one for all” attitude. It is therefore proposed that student groups
are less likely to be dysfunctional or dissatisfied with group assessment if the
group expects to do well and values the task. It is recommended that this
hypothesis be tested in different contexts in order to further understanding of
group assessment and its ability to motivate students to learn the digital skills
required in the twenty-first century workplace.
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