Thursday, 30 June 2011

Track G: e-Assessment Case Studies

TRACK G - E-assessment project case studies: the triumphs and challenges
Presenters: Nicky Spawls (School of Arts and Education), Thomas Bending and Toby York (Business School)

This session showed the perspectives of three different departments (Education, Economics and Maths, Accounting and Finance) involved with the e-assessment pilot project. The e-assessment project asked for representation from all departments for modules to take part in e-assessment in the form of e-submission and e-feedback. Thomas, Toby and Nicky all showed the approached their areas had taken to e-assessment and highlighted some of the benefits identified and challenges encountered.

Toby talked of 7 pieces of assessment and how the ‘cloud’ has been used in encouraging student to collaborate on projects together and furthermore start to work on assessments as a process over time. However, it was shown that students were still deadline driven and less discussion and engagement between students occurred than was originally hoped for. However, from his own evaluation of his students’ experiences, 91% stated that they preferred the e-assessment – a strong indicator of his students’ satisfaction with the e-assessment method.

Thomas, from a financial mathematics programme, discussed electronic submission of a group presentation requiring the inclusion of text, tables, possible use of graphs and formula in one single document. A practice opportunity was provided although this was not taken up by all students. He did state that marking online did take slightly longer than marking by hand although more detail was able to be provided in the feedback that was given by compiling a bank of common feedback comments that could be cut and paste into the required feedback document. It was felt that the take up of feedback was better as it was delivered via email rather than left in an office waiting to be collected. There were challenges of students unsure of submitting work (due to a lack of receipts) and the additional time taken for getting used to marking online but overall students found submitting and receiving feedback electronically to be positive.

Nicky discussed the benefits and challenges that she and staff had encountered using the institutional VLE, turnitin and grademark. High praise for the support given by the educational technologists was mentioned highlighting the important link between central services and Schools in delivering such an initiative. Nicky highlighted the practical challenges (not having correct access on certain computers or facilities to work remotely, wifi, etc) and pedagogic challenges (interpreting Turnitin reports accurately) in changing practices in this way. She stressed that although staff were initially resistant the experience had made staff more positive to the move to e-assessment.

It was important to note that although challenges were identified all 3 examples showed that students were overwhelmingly positive to e-assessment.

Deeba Parmar
Senior Researcher
Centre for Learning and Teaching Enhancement

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