The design of assessment in undergraduate history courses, as university populations grow and change, must adapt to meet and serve a range of new pedagogical imperatives and student constituencies in order to ensure both disciplinary integrity and the development of employability skills transferable to work in other fields. In delivering an elective course on Medieval history we have developed the “Medieval Expo,” a team-based assessment task that challenges students to develop a presentation aimed at educating a general audience on a specific aspect of Medieval history. The task aims, primarily, to develop students’ ability to communicate complex information to a non-specialist audience as well as develop effective teamwork skills: two valuable characteristics for humanities graduates entering any career, while still reinforcing the importance of historical study. A “scaffolded research” model, providing foundational structures that guide student research, is combined with opportunities for students to exercise creative freedom, providing suitable pedagogical support yet maximizing opportunities for student engagement. The reported benefits of this task include increased student engagement with the course content; smoother transitions to tertiary study through the formation of friendships, which is crucial for retention; and increased awareness of the employability skills embedded in the liberal arts.
- Assessment in higher education
- medieval history
- Public history