Learning is inclusive,  Learning is scaffolded

MMM132 and the Principles of Premium Learning and Teaching

Deakin has recently developed its Principles of Premium Learning and Teaching (PPLT), providing an outline of best practice in teaching and learning at Deakin. A key project for the Learning Innovations group is contextualising these principles for the Faculty of Business and Law and identifying pockets of excellence.

One unit identified so far has been MMM132, Management. MMM132 is a core first-year unit in our Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Business and will teach approximately 2000 students in 2019. Two of the PPLT that MM132 exemplifies are:

Learning is inclusive: learning experiences… are designed to accommodate student diversity and create equivalent opportunities for academic success

Learning is scaffolded in a clear narrative sequence

Of particular interest is MMM132’s first assessment, which is broken up into three parts:

  • A1.1 – A SmartSparrow module on citing and referencing – explaining basic concepts to students, at their convenience
  • A1.2 – A short writing task that asks students to practice their citing and referencing skills by identifying sources they will use for A1.3. Students also plan out their report’s structure (500 words, 10%)
  • A1.3 – A longer writing task, where students produce a business report, informed by feedback from their previous submissions (2500 words, 30%)

The design of this assessment gives first-year students a chance to develop their writing, citing and referencing skills, also with an opportunity for students to implement the feedback they have received in A1.2. This is especially helpful for students who may need extra support (e.g. first-in-family students and international students) as they adjust to university expectations. This approach is also in line with transition pedagogy, which recommends giving students an early, smaller assessment to help accustom themselves to university expectations, and builds confidence with their learning.

Dr Wendy Webber is MMM132’s unit champion and re-designed MMM132:

Our students come from a broad range of local and international schooling and social backgrounds, and we have some mature students too. This staged approach for the first assignment assists all of our students learn the essential skills required in the management discipline. It also assures us that all students receive the same training, education, and early feedback about these important but basic student capabilities. This approach facilitates student development as they journey from the lower stake assessments through to the final A1.3 assessment. Initially, some students are shocked to discover what they don’t know but they quickly learn what is required and become quite accomplished in their A1.3 assessment.

MMM132 students agree too, some (verbatim) extracts from eVALUate feedback include:

  • Feedback on assignment 1.2, for 1.3. Errors in my referencing were picked up so I could improve in general.
  • I liked how the first assessment was broken up into three parts, it helped to get the ball rolling and not leave things until the last minute.
  • The assessment tasks are designed so that you can get feedback early and correct your
  • writing/referencing which is really helpful.
  • The referencing assignment was brilliant. Learning the correct way to research and reference is a tool I wish I had earlier because it is so powerful.
  • The first written assignment that required you to start the second written assignment was a great learning experience.
  • The break up of assessments was really helpful as well as the feedback provided so we could improve as the semester progressed.
  • the feedback! great feedback on assignments – very helpful- I improved from one assignment to the next because of it.