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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Moray House School of Education : Education

Postgraduate Course: Assessment, Learning and Digital Education (EDUA11319)

Course Outline
SchoolMoray House School of Education CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores how the assessment of students and their learning is rapidly evolving in ways that capitalise on developments in digital technologies considering pedagogical and technological considerations, as well as conceptual and practical issues. Underpinning our exploration is a review of key assessment purposes, processes and guiding principles which allows us to take a more questioning eye to newly emerging and more established directions in digital education and assessment.

The purpose of this course is to provide participants with the opportunity to engage with online assessment and the issues it raises, both practically and theoretically. It will provide the opportunity for participants to relate what they learn through the interactions and activities of the course to their own context, discipline or institution. The course is aimed at instructors, tutors or teachers who have an interest in digital assessments and who would like to engage more deeply with aspects of the topic.

Students from outwith the Digital Education programme wishing to enrol for this course or take it on a 'class only' basis must liaise directly with the course secretary before enrolling.
Course description The course is divided into six themes.

1. Assessment purposes and perspectives.
The course opens with an opportunity to review your experiences of being assessed and share with others your initial thoughts on what makes for a good assessment. We then turn to the fundamental question of what purposes can underlie assessment, how different 'stakeholders' tend to vary in which purposes they value most, and what tensions may arise from these differences.
2. Digital Contexts and Multimodal Assessments.
Novel, online forms of assessment provoke new questions about what the informal ground-rules (and even the implications for more formal assessment regulations) might be. This theme explores the implications for assessment in digital environments. We will examine a variety of actual online assessments and consider how they open up opportunities for students to communicate what they know, understand and can do and how they ask us, as educators, to consider the interpretative role of the assessor and to re-think conventional wisdom about assessment and feedback.
3. Assessment for Learning.
A recurring theme in the assessment literature is the problematic interrelationship between assessment-for-grading ('summative assessment') and assessment-for-learning ('formative assessment'), allied to concerns that the former has all too often flourished at the expense of the latter. Here we consider a number of frameworks and manifestos that each seek to put assessment-for-learning to the forefront and articulate evidence-informed guiding principles.
4. Feedback, feedforward and dialogue.
Here we focus on the opportunities digital environments afford to enhance assessment-for-learning by facilitating and boosting guidance and feedback to students on their progress and performance. We will consider applications that range from comments on coursework assignments, through initiatives that enable students to self-test periodically, to the introduction of electronic voting systems that provide a systematic check on how well what has been taught has been understood.
5. Collaborative learning and assessment.
Digital technologies have opened up exciting new opportunities for students to work collaboratively, whether through new forms of communication and interaction as they pursue shared or pooled tasks, or through co-authoring tools that allow writing and revising of joint publications, presentations or other output. But assessing such collaborative activities also poses tricky issues for educational systems that have traditionally evaluated and rewarded individual rather than group endeavour and where the borderlines between cooperation and collusion may be fuzzy rather than clear-cut. During this theme we will tease out some of our own ways of working collaboratively in preparation for our own group-based assessment.
6. Emerging Themes.
In these weeks, we will explore some of the emerging challenges that new technologies might bring to traditional understandings of the relationship between teacher, student and assessment. We will also be engaging in our group-based assessment for the course, the Big Questions assignment.

ALDE, as with all our courses, is delivered entirely online, using as its main delivery platform the virtual learning environment Moodle, but also making extensive use of environments for collaborative working and assessment (e.g. wiki, Google Doc) and synchronous sessions (e.g. Skype, Adobe Connect).

The approach to teaching in the course takes various forms. Most weeks will include guided core and follow-up reading from a range of sources, alongside various activities like forum discussions, group authoring, and synchronous seminars. In particular, in this course, we value sharing our experiences and insights with one another, alongside what we discover along the way ┐ a new idea or application, for instance, or an unfamiliar term that can be put to good use. And through the assignments, you will have the chance to review developments in digital assessment in a field of your own choosing.

Successful participation in this course will require around 7-10 hours a week in discussion, reading, exploration and writing, with more than this likely around the time of assignment completion. As suggested in the introduction to this handbook, you will need to make a significant commitment to the course in order to contribute to class discussions, activities and the collaborative work. We would recommend logging in to Moodle almost every day to keep track of class discussions. You will also need to set aside good chunks of time three or four times a week for undertaking course activities, doing the readings and keeping apace with the course work.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  26
Course Start Semester 2
Course Start Date 15/01/2018
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 6, Online Activities 30, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 6, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 154 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) There are three assessment components for this course. The first, worth 25% of the overall grade, is an individual 'think piece'. The second, worth 50% of the overall grade, is a collaborative, group-graded project. The third, worth 25% of the overall grade, is an individual position piece.
Feedback The course has two feedforward events integrated into the second assignment - the collaborative writing in response to our Big Questions. (Feedforward is feedback on a draft before the final submission.) The first feedforward comes early in the endeavor with tutors providing written commentary on the group plan for the assignment. The second feedforward comes later in the activity when students have a full draft ready for comments. This second feedforward is delivered in two ways: an audio file of two tutors discussing the piece and making recommendations for each group and a text file of generic feedforward for the whole class.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate an analytical grasp of assessment purposes and practices relevant to both online and more conventional forms of assessment.
  2. critically evaluate the potential pedagogical benefits of, and limitations to, the use of online assessment in educational settings.
  3. be familiar with a range of conceptually and empirically grounded frameworks for reviewing and enhancing developments in digital assessments.
  4. identify and review prospects for online assessment in your chosen subject area and institutional/professional setting within the higher and post-compulsory education sectors.
Reading List
theme 1: Assessment Purposes and Perspectives
Hounsell, D., Xu, R. and Tai, C.-M. (2007). Balancing Assessment of and Assessment for Learning. (Scottish Enhancement Themes: Guides to Integrative Assessment, nos. 2 & 3) Gloucester: QAA. [espec. pp. iv-5.]
Boud, D. (1995). 'Assessment and learning: contradictory or complementary'. In: Knight, P. ed. Assessment for Learning in Higher Education. London: Kogan Page/SEDA. pp. 35-48.
Knight, P. (2002). 'Summative assessment in higher education: practices in disarray.' Studies in Higher Education, 27.3, pp. p275-86.

theme 2: Digital Contexts and Multimodal Assessments
McKenna, C. and McAvinia, C. (2011). Difference and discontinuity - making meaning through hypertexts. In Land, R. and Bayne, S. (eds). Digital Difference: Perspectives in Online Learning. Sense Publishers. 45-60.

theme 3: Frameworks and Principles: Learning-Oriented Assessment
Carless, D. (2007). 'Learning-oriented assessment: conceptual bases and practical implications.' Innovations in Education and Teaching International 44.1, pp. 57┐66.
Gibbs, G. and Simpson, C. (2004-5). 'Conditions under which assessment supports students' learning.' Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 1, pp.3-31.
Higher Education Academy. (2012). A Marked Improvement: Transforming Assessment in Higher Education. York: HEA
Keppel, M. and Carless, D. (2006). 'Learning-oriented assessment: a technology-based case study'. Assessment in Education, 13.2, pp. 179-191.
Nicol, D. and Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). 'Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice', Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199-218.
Nicol, D. (2007). 'Laying a foundation for lifelong learning: case studies of technology-supported assessment in large first year classes'. British Journal of Educational Technology. 38.4, pp. 668-678.
Price, M., O'Donovan, B. and Rust, C. (2007). Putting a social┐constructivist assessment process model into practice: building the feedback loop into the assessment process through peer review. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 44(2), 143-152.
Russell, J. et al. (2006). 'Using the online environment in assessment for learning: a case-study of a web-based course in primary care'. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 31.4, pp. 465-478.

theme 4: Feedback, Feedforward and Dialogue
Carless, D. (2014). 'Exploring learning-oriented assessment processes'. Higher Education, online first at 10.1007/s10734-014-9816-z.
Hatzipanagos, S. and Warburton, S. (2009). 'Feedback as dialogue: exploring the links between formative assessment and social software in distance learning'. Learning, Media and Technology, 34.1, pp. 45 ┐ 59.
Hepplestone, S. et al (2011). Using technology to encourage student engagement with feedback: a literature review. Research in Learning Technology: 19(2):117-127.
Nicol, D. 2014. Guiding principles for peer review: unlocking learners┐ evaluative skills. In eds. C. Kreber, C. Anderson, N. Entwistle and J. McArthur Advances and innovations in university assessment and feedback. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

theme 5: Collaborative Assessment
Alvarez, I., Espasa, A. and Guasch, T. (2012). The value of feedback in improving collaborative writing assignments in an online learning environment. Studies in Higher Education, 37(4): 387-400.
Davies, W.M. (2009). 'Groupwork as a form of assessment: common problems and recommended solutions.' Higher Education, 58, pp. 563-584
Naismith, L., Lee, B.-H. and Pilkington, R.M. (2011). Collaborative learning with a wiki: Differences in perceived usefulness in two contexts of use. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27: 228┐242.
O┐Shea, C. and Fawns, T. (2014, forthcoming). Disruptions and dialogues: Supporting collaborative connoisseurship in digital environments. In Kreber, C., Anderson, C., Entwistle, N., & J. McArthur (Eds.). Advances and innovations in university assessment and feedback, pp. 259-273. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

theme 6: Emerging Themes: The Big 5 Wiki Assignment
This will change depending on the students' selection of themes.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsDigital learning,digital education,e-learning,online assessment,e-assessment
Course organiserMs Clara O'Shea
Tel: (0131 6)51 6116
Course secretaryMs Angela Hunter
Tel: (0131 6)51 1196
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