The First post of the project!

Ok, so this is the first post for our project blog. First thing first – WELCOME!

We would like to first thanks JISC for funding this project! Hence the big JISC logo on this post!

I guess there are a few essential things that I should put up on this first post like what is this project all about, why are we doing it and who is on this project! So here we go:

What is this project about?

This project will evaluate two assessment and feedback related innovations currently being used at the University of Glamorgan, aimed at addressing the issue of assessment bunching and the issue on poor feedback to students. The two innovations are 1) Assessment Diaries and 2) GradeMark.

Interviews and focus groups will be used to capture the views and experience of students and staff (academic, technical and administrative staff) on the two innovations. The evaluation of the two innovations focusing on tackling the two issues would therefore be of great benefit to the wider sector in improving the assessment and feedback experience for both staff and students.

What is an Assessment Diary? 

The assessment diary is essentially a simple list of module codes and titles, dates for assessment submission and return. This information is posted on the institutions VLE, Blackboard. In a parallel process, an electronic task list of all hand-back dates was posted into staff Outlook calendars to alert staff to impending deadlines. The diary uses an in house web-based front end which is provided within Blackboard. The diary can be personalised by selecting modules from a drop-down menu, giving students and tutors clear, easily accessible information about when assignments are to be submitted and returned.

What is GradeMark?

GradeMark is an online marking tool that is part of the Turnitin plagiarism software. The use of GradeMark is more than simply improving the quality of feedback, it is seen as a tool that could significantly improve staff‟s assessment experience by better managing the feedback process and maintaining a meaningful dialogue with students.

Why are we doing this?

Both assessment bunching and poor feedback have been frequently highlighted in the literature and at our institution as major challenges towards improving students’ and staffs’ assessment and learning experiences. E.g. the NUS, Bloxham and Boyd (2007) and the REAP project has also stressed the need for time on task and speedy and detailed feedback. We believe that the key to resolving these two issues lies with using technologies to enable and enhance dialogues not only between students and staff, but also amongst staff. The two innovations (the assessment diaries and GradeMark) aim to do just that.

The assessment diaries and GradeMark was introduced to the institution in 2009 following our Change Academy Project – Putting Assessment at the Heart of Learning. While we have had some positive feedback from staff and students on the two innovations, as is the case with many innovations in Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL), these innovations were interpreted and adopted at different levels across the University. This project will enable us to understand our staff and students’ view on the diaries and GradeMark and what we can do to further improve our staff and students’ assessment and feedback experience.

So that’s just a little bit of background for now. Next post? – The Project Team. I must now go and take some photo of our team for the next post!

 

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