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Using poster presentations as assessment of work integrated learning

Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) Incorporated
Publication Date
  • 130103 Higher Education
  • Work Integrated Learning
  • Posters
  • Internships
  • Criterion Referenced Assessment
  • Industry Engagement
  • Hern
  • Ljhern
  • Communication
  • Law
  • Political Science


Background / context: The ALTC WIL Scoping Study identified a need to develop innovative assessment methods for work integrated learning (WIL) that encourage reflection and integration of theory and practice within the constraints that result from the level of engagement of workplace supervisors and the ability of academic supervisors to become involved in the workplace. Aims: The aim of this paper is to examine how poster presentations can be used to authentically assess student learning during WIL. Method / Approach: The paper uses a case study approach to evaluate the use of poster presentations for assessment in two internship units at the Queensland University of Technology. The first is a unit in the Faculty of Business where students majoring in advertising, marketing and public relations are placed in a variety of organisations. The second unit is a law unit where students complete placements in government legal offices. Results / Discussion: While poster presentations are commonly used for assessment in the sciences, they are an innovative approach to assessment in the humanities. This paper argues that posters are one way that universities can overcome the substantial challenges of assessing work integrated learning. The two units involved in the case study adopt different approaches to the poster assessment; the Business unit is non-graded and the poster assessment task requires students to reflect on their learning during the internship. The Law unit is graded and requires students to present on a research topic that relates to their internship. In both units the posters were presented during a poster showcase which was attended by students, workplace supervisors and members of faculty. The paper evaluates the benefits of poster presentations for students, workplace supervisors and faculty and proposes some criteria for poster assessment in WIL. Conclusions / Implications: The paper concludes that posters can effectively and authentically assess various learning outcomes in WIL in different disciplines while at the same time offering a means to engage workplace supervisors with academic staff and other students and supervisors participating in the unit. Posters have the ability to demonstrate reflection in learning and are an excellent demonstration of experiential learning and assessing authentically. Keywords: Work integrated learning, assessment, poster presentations, industry engagement.

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