An essay is a type of assignment designed for you to demonstrate your understanding and awareness of a topic in a structure, thoughtful and artful way (Hamilton, 2011). Although they might not be the typical kind of writing you have used day-to-day, they are a useful assessment tool and a valuable method of developing your own perspectives, arguments and ways of thinking on a topic.
Essays are key to developing your thinking and writing skills, which are essential to the development of good communication skills. You are expected to develop your essay writing skills across the course of your degree in terms of precision, complexity and purpose.
Reports are a type of assignment used to demonstrate the results of a project, research assignment or case study (Cottrell, 2019). Reports are written to serve a specific purpose and the style will differ depending on the discipline, the topic or the audience. They are structured in a formal way so that readers can access information quickly, and differ from essays in that they originate from outside an educational context and are divided into distinct sections. Dissertations are an extended report on a chosen research topic.
Presentations may be used as an assignment on your course, as they are a way of assessing your understanding of a topic and demonstrating this to a knowing audience against a time limit. Presentations have become increasingly popular due to the acknowledgement that a lot of people are better at speaking than writing (Burns & Sinfield, 2013) and they are certainly a staple of professional life.
Exams are assessments under controlled conditions, and are arguably the most anxiety-inducing in students at University. They come in many forms such as online exams, multiple choice, essay-style or seen papers, and each format has a distinct form and function.
Group assignments might be used as a form of assessment on your course and may take many forms, for example, undertaking a joint project, group presentation, a group report etc. If an assignment is intended as a group effort then this will be made explicit in module guidance. Any group efforts towards an assignment outside of these guidelines are seen as unauthorised collusion and therefore, a form of academic dishonesty.
Click here to access more on Group Assignments
If your course has any elements of work-based learning, then it is likely that you will be asked to keep a reflective journal. A reflective journal is not only a daily log of the activities you undertake in your placement; it is also a way of recording how you view situations as a professional, how you use theory in practice and how you can improve yourself as a practitioner. Often, reflective journals are kept to use in a reflective essay, where you demonstrate how your practice links to research and theory. This is a useful assessment tool as it demonstrates your understanding of your discipline and also captures the active application of knowledge in practice.
A portfolio is a folder (either electronic or physical) used to collate resources on a theme, such as evidence of professional development. You might be asked to create a personal portfolio, which is a collection of materials brought together to demonstrate you as the main theme. A portfolio helps you to manage and organise information and link it in meaningful ways. It also guides processes such as action plans, reflections and personal development (Cottrell, 2019).
Click here to access more on Portfolios