Exemplar: Sarah Midford - Gallipoli Anzacs and the Great War

Integrated group assessment using jigsaw (piecing together) and Wordpress

Sarah Midford
Subject Coordinator, Gallipoli, Anzacs and the Great War (MDS1GAL)

In this fully online subject winter subject taught over all five La Trobe campuses, Sarah structured a staged assessment strategy in which students bring individual work to a group project. She adopted a jigsaw approach to the group task: students draw on separate source material, then work together to synthesise their contributions in Wordpress.

The challenge

Students were asked to approach this group assessment as though they were a team of investigators seeking to discover new meanings about Gallipoli, Anzacs and the Great War from the sources they had at hand. Each member of the group had a different primary source related to this topic. Their job was to work together on a report that integrated these sources based on the idea that, on its own, each source tells us something, but together the sources can work together to reveal greater depth of meaning. The report needed to bring the meanings of each source together; students considered how the sources were all interrelated and what this interrelationship revealed about their group's topic.

What's happening in this subject

The idea behind this assessment was to get these students interacting and learning from each other despite the distance between them. This assessment was integrated with other assessments and designed to allow students to explore an area of personal interest and then share that interest with their class peers. The subject links and stages assessments: students selected distinct source material and presented this online to their group; they then synthesised this material in a group article via Wordpress. Students were then asked to submit a personal reflection on their group work experience so that we could monitor the success of the endeavour and also work out who carried more and less of the group work load – this made the students feel the group work process was more equitable.

Critical Success Factors

Critical was the developmental staging and scaffolding of the assessments. At every point in the process students were offered choices (albeit, structured and scaffolded). This was favourably viewed and most students very enthusiastically undertook all assessment in this subject as a result. The students' enthusiasm is particularly evident in the quality and frequency of forum posts which were also part of their assessment.

Assessments 

  1. Weekly forum posts: post and comment on two other posts. 6 posts x 150 words, grade 20%
  2. Research Presentation: select source and present to your group, 3 mins, grade 15%
  3. Group project: Synthesis of group sources. Article in Wordpress, 1200 words, grade 20%
  4. Group project: Personal reflection. 500 words, grade 10%
  5. Research Essay, 1650 words, grade 35%

The WordPress sites produced by students are available online: