Teaching and Learning


Paper and pencils tests taken to the next stage

Copyright: © Martin Baumann

Urheberrecht: Martin Baumann A student works on a written assessment by acquiring an ECG curve from himself.

More than often assessments are restricted to a pure reproduction of knowledge. By extending those assessments to “blended assessments”, the teacher may comparatively simple incorporate additional skills such as practical tasks.

Especially designed for transdisciplinary subjects such as engineering and medicine, touch-operated and other digital devices are used in oral and written exams to test for additional student skills, such as ECG measurement and interpretation. By coupling multiple skills within one single assessment format, both the aims of the constructive alignment structure and validity of the assessment increase.

This study includes measurements in order to rate the success on a quantitative and on a qualitative level. Since e-assessments have been established for more than a decade at the RWTH Aachen University, the installation of this format is being carried out without significant organizational changes.

To sum up, the project combines the quality criteria validity, practicability and economy in one single skills-based assessment scenario.


Problem Based Practical Courses

Students gain practical competencies during a lecture by taking ECG curves from each other. Copyright: © Martin Baumann

Especially in the applied university education subjects and in the applied sciences, practical skills are inevitable precursors to problem solving procedures. Those practical skills range from standard subjects to interdisciplinary key skills. Problem Based Learning, PBL, focuses on the problem solving skills of students.

In PBL, problems covered in written texts are used to initiate student group work and individual learning. However, the classic seven-step-scheme of PBL addresses solely a theoretical problem, transported in a given text and thus is almost only suitable to increase student knowledge and analyzing skills.

In order to fulfil the major employers’ demands of incorporating more professional skills in university education, we extended the tried and tested PBL scheme to a nine-step Problem Based Practical Learning scheme, PBPL, which adds a practical branch of education in student-driven courses.

This concept not only reduces the need of tutorial support, at the same time it increases student initiative and responsibility.