Challenging undergraduate hospitality students: the use of debates as interactive teaching and assessment tools

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Edelheim, JR 2010, ‘Challenging undergraduate hospitality students: the use of debates as interactive teaching and assessment tools’, in S Crispin,et al. (eds), CAUTHE 2010: Tourism and Hospitality: challenge the limits: official conference proceedings, Faculty of Business, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tas. ISBN 9781862955608

Peer Reviewed



Research shows that undergraduate students learn what they expect to be assessed on. It is therefore important for educators to strategically use formative assessments in their teaching. A challenge for educators is naturally to engage their students in the subject matter, that is, for students to participate actively in classes and tutorials, and to be motivated to research and think critically about the topic in a manner that is broader than the unit’s basic textbook and suggested readings.

This article analyses a hospitality unit taught to second year undergraduate students. The ongoing assessment item used is a set of structured debates in which all students have to participate throughout the semester. The debates are conducted every second week, either live in tutorials, or alternatively online through the unit’s learning portal.

Feedback from the unit has consistently been very positive. Students have expressed satisfaction about the reason to connect their practical understanding of matters with theoretical findings. They also appreciate the opportunity to develop both their oral and written communication skills. The significance of this article is that it introduces an established assessment and teaching method from other disciplines to hospitality education and shows, in practical terms how similar assessments can be set up in other subjects. Another feature of this paper is that it incorporates multi-mode learning, and has ideas for how debates can take place not only in a physical classroom, but also in on-line delivery.