Agile learning and teaching driven by authentic assessments

Showcase Presenter: Jim Buchan

Software development is by its nature a complex, practice-oriented subject where learning the requisite skills and knowledge for industry success involves doing software development and reflection on outcomes. A good software developer needs technical abilities, aptitude to collaborate with others and cognitive skills that are specific to the context of a work environment. Fundamental to this is an understanding of different systems of working and associated values, methods and supporting tools. The Software Development Methods course provides students with a safe environment that encourages them to learn how to learn, to experiment with different ways of working and to hone their skills in designing, coding and testing software using modern tools and emerging technologies. The learning and evaluation of progress is driven by an authentic assessment programme that involves the iterative incremental development of a real product. Jim will describe the design and evolution of assessment based on his own experimentation over the past 10 years including lessons he has learned that have impacted, his student learning and have balanced the constraints of the University environment with the goals of authenticity. 

Attendees at this showcase will learn of the current assessment programme, narratives of experiences that are relatable across disciplines and strategies for teaching, learning and experimenting with authentic assessments  in an area that changes quickly to ensure our students are work-ready. 

Jim Buchan has been in and out of academia for the last 20 years. He is co-director of SERL and is grateful to learn and share his passions of software engineering and teaching. He continues to have a strong involvement in the software industry and researches interesting problems with industry partners.