The Department of Surgery and Cancer’s MEd in Surgical Education team, Tamzin Cuming, Kirsten Dalrymple and Roger Kneebone, introduced the use of Padlet as part of their summative assessment strategy in the MEd in Surgical Education.  It’s produced creative, academically rigorous and personal responses and more recently enabled a current student to quickly reshape her assessment into a publication.

Before you plan any summative assessment activities, you should consult your Faculty EdTech team regarding the assessment systems supported in your faculty.

The MEd in Surgical Education is a taught master’s programme whose students are practicing surgeons in their day to day lives.  In 2016 when the programme undertook a large-scale redesign, it diversified its assessment strategy and as part of their module on Simulation and Technology-Enhanced Learning, introduced Padlet as a tool that the students might use as educators.  We drew on TEL expertise in the EDU inviting Monika Pazio to provide our students an introduction to tools, instructional design and hands on practice.

The strategy was guided largely by the idea of using ‘assessment as learning’.  Through the summative assessment the students were encouraged to:

  • Apply concepts and approaches for simulation that they were learning on the module/programme,
  • Learn about a TEL tool, in this case Padlet, by making use of it
  • Explore an area of personal interest related to the topic.  They were afforded choice with some ‘structure’. 
  • Diversify their communication skills by writing an authentic communication for a different type of audience and using multi-media in addition to written text whilst still being sure to…
  • Continually develop Master’s level academic behaviors – e.g. being critical, reflective, adopting the perspectives of others

 The assessment topic lends itself to personalisation and its instructions set the scope for students to work within.  Essentially we ask the students to develop an idea about how simulation can be used in new ways and / or with new types of learners.   They are reminded to frame their arguments about this with essential Master’s level behaviors- being critical, reflective, considering the perspectives of others, etc.    

Giving the students the ability to write in an area of personal interest and make use of personal reflections produces highly diverse and contemporary responses whilst still deploying evidence and arguments related to the content area they are learning about.  This flexibility produces highly original and often creative responses from students which in turn provides a more enjoyable marking experience for tutors.  One of our recent graduates, Samantha Gallivan, has agreed to share her module assessment as part of this case study.  Take a look to see what we mean!    

In developing our assessment strategy for the MEd we have also considered how to craft our assessments in such a way that students could transform elements of their work into something suitable for wider dissemination to the surgical education community.  By building in flexibility and aligning our assessment topics with current issues in surgical education we are able to enable and facilitate this translation process. 

 A recent example of where this has been successful is around a current student who chose to respond to the current Covid-19 pandemic by creating a piece about using distributed and hybrid simulation to augment covid-19 testing capacity.  Her piece was marked, revised for journal submission and accepted for publication to BMJ – STEL

 Key issues when using a TEL tool as assessment

  • Consider fit into wider assessment strategy (how ‘authentic’ the TEL assessment is, how it fits into the current diversity of types, how suitable it is for your course level)
  • Develop a flexible but bounded assessment topic that encourages choice and draws on students’ personal experience
  • Be sure to provide training to students on how to use the TEL tool
  • Consider providing an example of a past assignment
  • When adding multimedia, ensure students demonstrate how these contribute to the wider arguments
  • Adjust word count to account for the meaning provided by other media and the effort it takes to select these.

BEFORE you plan any summative assessment activities, you should consult your Faculty EdTech team[MOU1]  regarding the assessment systems supported in your faculty.