USING GOOGLE DOCS TO ENHANCE THE LEARNING DIMENSION OF SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT
University College Cork (IRELAND)
About this paper:
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Is there really any such thing as non-blended learning anymore? Indeed has there ever been? In this presentation I will outline how a course in legal translation evolved over the years to incorporate the technologies of the time into its pedagogical approach. I will use work that I do with students of Law and Irish language to promote the view that teaching with technology is at its most successful when driven by a strong deep understanding with the subject to be learnt and its own particular pedagogy.
BCL Law and Irish is a four year programme run jointly by the Department of Law and the Department of Modern Irish in University College Cork, Ireland. GA2010 is a compulsory module of Irish Language taken by all second year students of Irish in UCC, including those doing Law. In the second semester the students of law are transferred from their individual language tutorials to a group dedicated to preparing them for the following year's work experience.
The learning objectives of these sessions are threefold:
• Firstly we must ensure that the students have the technological skills needed when they go to the Government the following year. This is in response to a specific request from the translation unit.
• Secondly they must learn the appropriate linguistic and translation skills needed to successfully translate Legal English to Legal Irish.
• Thirdly they must also continue to develop their knowledge of Irish.
Teaching and Assessment:
During the past 15 years the course has adopted and discarded technologies according to the developments in the real world. For instance the early classes were conducted in a static computer lab so students could access online resources during class. Later, with the advances in mobile technology and wifi, we were able to adapt conventional classrooms into labs in a matter of minutes. These past two years students have been using their phones and other mobile devices, allowing us to dispense with the costly macBooks. Likewise, the student assessment has evolved from hard copy to email to the dropbox in Blackboard to the use of Google Docs.
It is on this use of Google Docs that I intend to concentrate in this presentation. As part of the current assessment for the module, students must carry out five legal translations, each of which focuses on a particular challenge to the legal translator of English into Irish. Rather than submit their assessments in the conventional manner, they share their work with the course teacher as a Google Doc. They are given two deadlines. The first draught is to be shared with the instructor for purposes of formative assessment. The teacher colour-codes the linguistic errors and makes comments where appropriate to guide the students towards self-correction. Having reflected on these and engaged with the errors the students make the final submission for summative assessment a week later. During this period the students are encouraged to cooperate with each other and are free to email any questions to the teacher.
This presentation will report both qualitative and quantitative evidence to support the theory that working online in a collaborative environment enhances the learners’ engagement with the learning material leading to a deeper level of learning. The evidence is gathered from both a deep analysis of students’ errors throughout the academic year and from the results of surveys carried out among the group.
Keywords: Google docs, legal translation, irish, english, language, law students.