Kevin Schoepp, Maurice Danaher, Ashley Ater Kranov, Anthony Rhodes, Independent Researchers, Mexico.
While primarily thought of as tools for online or blended learning environments, asynchronous online discussion boards can also be effectively implemented in traditional face-to-face classrooms for both teaching and assessment. This paper describes the use of the Computing Professional Skills Assessment (CPSA), a tool and assessment method delivered through an asynchronous online discussion board that is designed to assess the six professional skills learning outcomes prescribed by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), with a specific focus on the teamwork and problem-solving learning outcomes. Though conducted within the computing discipline at a UAE university, the historical adaptation of the CPSA from an earlier instrument known as the Engineering Professional Skills Assessment, the emphasis on the universally prioritized learning outcomes of teamwork and problem-solving, the significant work conducted into the reliability and validity of the assessment tool, and the theoretical underpinnings provided by the cognitive and social presence aspects of the Communities of Inquiry (COI) model, means that there is great potential for either adoption into similar computing programs or adaptation into other disciplines within higher education. Within the COI model, cognitive presence is the socially constructed knowledge that is developed through continuous communication, while social presence is the ability of participants to communicate openly with one another, and these constructs are obviously well- aligned with the learning outcomes of teamwork and problem-solving. Over numerous years of research using the CPSA, results have indicated that as an assessment method delivered through an asynchronous online discussion board it enables assessment of complex tasks that demand teamwork and problem solving that goes far beyond most traditional assessments.