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List of possibly relevant e-technologies

By Steve Draper,   Department of Psychology,   University of Glasgow.

This page lists e-learning technologies that might possibly be relevant to redesigning the assesssment on your courses. The order here is partly random, and partly reflects my personal obsessions. For your purposes, ignore the order and ruthlessly skim for what might help you and your situation.

  • EVS (Electronic voting systems) (also know as Classroom Communication Systems etc.): refers to technologies that facilitate interaction in large lecture classes. Tests are presented in class and student respond using electronic handsets. These technologies have great potential to provide immediate feedback and they support self and peer assessment, and small group discussion in large classes.

  • E-portfolios: electronic portfolios support personal development planning and self-regulated learning by students (they reflect on and select learning outputs to record) and monitoring of work by staff. There are several largely contradictory functions for e-portfolios: before adopting software it's best to be clear which of these you want.
    1. Support students' better reasoning to potential employers: archiving work and evidence, and then helping students make claims about their knowledge and skills, and supporting those claims with evidence. "Showcasing" work done.
    2. Managing and recording accreditation (marks). Including marking entries students make in the software. This is about giving staff more control over students' learning. Summative assessment. About product.
    3. To support reflection and self-management of employability skills, personal needs, and other learning outcomes. This is about giving students more control over their learning. About process.
      • I.e. "personal development planning".
      • Reflection.

  • Simulations and games: provide intrinsic/dynamic feedback to students often embedded in real life examples (e.g. problem solving, decision-making in business). Simulations help integrate knowledge from different disciplines and invariably enhance motivation.
  • Online exemplars and models of written work (essays, reports) with feedback and/or level statements. Students can use these to help understand the task and what counts as "good performance". They might be asked to compare their work with exemplars to encourage self-assessment and self-correction.
  • Frequently Asked Questions: a form of self-assessment with feedback. Students select questions that they wish answers to and receive feedback results.
  • Answer Gardens: a way of building up answers to questions previously asked by students and formulating these into online reusable resources.
  • Discussion boards: can be used to create peer discussion around online submissions and are used to assess the quality of student discussion
  • Online questions posted by students. If done before lectures or tutorials this form of feedback helps staff to tailor the teaching to students needs. Scaled up, this is the heart of "just in time teaching" where students are required to read the material before class, and "lectures" become entirely devoted to addressing issues raised by students about it.

  • Online diagnostic tests: short tests used to gauge classroom understanding at key points during the course. There is a great deal of research on this form of innovative assessment in the USA but little work on how this might be translated into online contexts.
  • Online tests: provide immediate feedback, repetition and reinforcement. Useful in skills learning where practice is essential (e.g. problem solving) and as a self-assessment task to help develop learner responsibility.
  • Databanks of feedback comments: can be used by teachers to respond to students written work more efficiently.
  • Peer marking and assignment distribution management software: helps teachers manage peer-marking processes. It supports anonymous sharing of students' work amongst peers and the collation and distribution of peer feedback. [Free software from Dundee.]
  • Plagiarism detection software. Such software can automate some of the work required by staff to ensure that assignments submitted by students are actually produced by them.
  • VLEs (Virtual learning environments) / portal: support the management of assignments and when integrated with student records systems also help teachers monitor students' progress and identify those in difficulty.

  • Questionmark and their software "Perception" are mainly about computerised assessment (testing students). So for authoring questions in many formats (not just basic MCQs), they may have something to offer. Possibly, such questions could then be asked using an EVS.

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