Beyond exams and essays: Creative methods of assessment in Italian studies

Our Italian section’s creative assignments enables students to ‘posterise’ their research! In several cultural modules we have embedded poster presentations, i.e. academic posters in A1 format which let students present a topic of their choice in a very effective, visual way. In “Poster presentations” sessions students bring their own posters and display them like in an exhibition, which is open to anyone. After the presentation students can keep their professionally-printed posters and take them to job interviews to show their ability to sum up information in a catchy way. It is a win-win assessment method. Teachers can transfer some presentation skills onto their students, and students do enjoy the visual appeal of their posters, which stay with them as a piece of evidence of a good quality and effective work.

 

In one of our Italian socio-linguistics modules, students recently edited a newsletter – entitled Reading Italians (where the plural is for signalling the linguistic variety of contemporary Italian). Financed by a small grant from the University Teaching and Learning Development Fund, and professionally designed by an undergraduate student of Typography (which could use the newsletter as the final project of her academic year), the newsletter was edited by two students from the module, and included several articles written by students to talk about their sociolinguist projects. Two issues of the newsletter were released (100 copies each): one to discuss ideas, and one to disseminate the results of the students’ research. Graphically stunning, the two issues were sent to all the Italian departments in the UK, to let colleagues and students from other universities what we were doing.