During the last decade the teaching of students in first‐year biology has changed from a teacher‐centred focus to a student‐centred focus. The change was designed to encourage students to take responsibility for their learning, develop team and communication skills and put in practice those skills required for lifelong learning. Students are introduced to small learning communities (in large classes) that give the students a sense of belonging and a peer support group. Activities have been devised and implemented to support student‐centred learning, which in more recent years has included using computers. All these activities are integrated into the course design so that the students are offered an array of learning opportunities relevant to the course(s) learning outcomes. An important requirement for the development of student‐centred learning is suitable and timely feedback that gives students guidance about their learning outcomes. Giving feedback to very large classes is an expensive commodity and one that is vulnerable in the current climate of reducing resources and increasing student numbers. First‐year biology students receive online feedback from a weekly quiz (with both formative and summative components), from a mid‐semester mock exam (formative only) and from a series of self‐assessment modules (formative only). This paper will examine the use of such online self‐assessment in a large first‐year biology class, discuss current evaluations of the materials and propose further research into how students use these integrated learning opportunities
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.