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Tuesday, November 1 • 10:55am - 11:45am
An Alternative to Exams in the Sciences: eReports for Better Learning Opportunities with Less Stress

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The primary purpose of exams is to assess student learning and mastery of course content. But, it can be argued that too much emphasis is placed on exams by both students and instructors. This often leads to stress and anxiety on the part of the student and to “teaching to the exam” by the instructor. Additionally, students often prepare for exams by ‘cramming’ last minute or by rote practice of course content. Neither approach leads to long-lasting learning, and knowledge gained by these approaches is rarely retained. This session will explore an alternative to traditional exams that can assess and fortify student learning, but do so in a less stressful way. Student electronic reports (eReports) are completely student-generated and multi-media in nature. Students summarize and condense the most critical content from course units into 20-30 minute stand-alone multi-media presentations/video files. An accurate and effective eReport arguably demonstrates student comprehension of the course material. This session will begin with introducing eReports as an assignment type. It will then move on to provide guidance for assigning and explaining eReports to students. Examples from other students’ eReports will be shared, as will methods and rubrics for eReport grading and assessment. The session will end with the results of a study on the student learning impact of creating eReports. It is expected that session attendees will leave with enough information to decide if eReports are a superior alternative to traditional exams, and, if so, be comfortable adopting eReports for use in their own classes.


Thomas Mennella

Associate Professor of Biology, Bay Path University

Tuesday November 1, 2016 10:55am - 11:45am EDT
Meeting Room A