#ocTEL Week 4: Supporting learners through assessment & feedback using TEL

Thoughts and experiences around assessment and feedback through blogging. 


This last week’s ‘if you only do one thing’ task (and I’m a bit behind so…)

On your blog or via Twitter (using #ocTEL tag), on this forum topic, or via the JiscMail list, post a message about your experiences or expectations of e-assessment and e-feedback to support student learning. For example,

  • Why did/would you choose a particular type of e-assessment? Describe why you think it is effective and how it can help deepen knowledge and understanding.
  • In your experience, what type of approach creates an environment conducive to self-directed learning, peer support and collaborative learning? How might technology help?
  • What opportunities and challenges does this approach present to tutors?

I don’t really do a lot in this area so I’m keen to learn more about it. I therefore found this week’s webinar really interesting. Here’s the video…


@AnneHole introduced me to VideoNot.es via Twitter (thanks Anne!). I gave it a try this week and think it’s a brilliant tool as it allows you to watch a video and make synchronised notes. Going through the process really helped me remember what was said and it’s proving to be a great revision aid as I write this post.


Back to the task…

What type of e-assessment?

I think formative assessment is more effective than summative – it’s now common practice to ‘google’ stuff rather than remember facts. Many of the JISC Projects exploring this area realise that formative is commonly used in the workplace. Feedforward – feedback related to the next assignment/ task – is also being widely adopted, so that assessment becomes more of a conversation and, therefore, better valued by students. This, of course, enables a constructive approach with students being able to build on what they’ve already learned.

It has also been identified that being able to both give and receive feedback, from multiple sources, are essential graduate skills.


Approaches for self-directed learning, peer support & collaborative learning

I teach BSc. Cruise Management students on the ‘Showcasing Cruising‘ module, in which they have to create a website that illustrates what it’s like to be a placement student on a cruise ship. They also have to write an article around current issues in the Cruise Industry. Students are assessed on the design of their sites. They explain what they did and why they chose colours, widgets, images, etc… to the assessment panel.

Although I introduce them to the basics of WordPress as part of the tutorial, it’s up to them to include ‘extras’ such as slideshows and maps. They can also use a different platform if they wish, but I don’t give any support for these.

I’m always really pleased to see how much they learn for themselves (they use ‘google’ a lot!) and how supportive they are of each other. Their finished sites are pretty good too. :o)

I come from an Arts background so have always found group crits to be really useful – it’s great for others to look at your work from a fresh perspective and offer ideas for improvement. If I could add one more activity with these students, it would be to include a group crit, as I think they would all really benefit from this and it would also address their experience of giving and receiving feedback as mentioned above.

Just realised that I’ve not really answered the question, ‘how can technology help?’ – oop! One of my other projects, ‘DigiThings‘, did address this. Feedback indicated that everyone appreciated the sense of community that commenting on each others’ blog posts created.

“…it was really really good, not just for introducing new tools and encouraging discussion and thought around them, but for opening up a local discussion and exchange of ideas within our department – the first time I’ve been in a ‘community of practice’, really, since the PGCAP.”

Opportunities & challenges for tutors…

The most obvious opportunity for tutors is that they can take a step back from part of the assessment process. I guess challenges would arise if students just didn’t want to engage – luckily this hasn’t really happened in my (albeit limited) experience!


Useful links

JISC: The changing face of assessment and feedback: Programme Report:

Exploring large scale changes in assessment & feedback practice through technology http://jisc.ac.uk/assessmentandfeedback


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