Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Moray House School of Education and Sport : Education

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

Course Outline
SchoolMoray House School of Education and Sport CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
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 covers:
*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.
*Frameworks and principles. 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 invite you to take a critical look at a number of frameworks and manifestos that each seek to put assessment-for- learning to the forefront and articulate evidence-informed guiding principles.
*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.
*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 electronic voting systems that provide a systematic check on how well what has been taught has been understood.
*Assessment literacy. Traditionally, assessment has been a relatively arcane and mysterious practice - understood only by those few judged sufficiently expert to be assessors in a given field and taking place in private, behind closed doors. But the mysteries of assessment have been falling away, and there has been growing recognition that it¿s hard for students to perform consistently well if they don¿t have a good grasp of what high-quality work looks like, and of how to go about achieving it. This ¿insider¿ view of assessment practices is precisely what ¿assessment literacy¿ aims to develop in students. Here we explore emerging perspectives on assessment literacy and the activities designed to promote it, such as peer review and the use of exemplars.
*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.
*Emerging themes and the ¿big questions¿ assignment. Here we 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, our '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, Discord).

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
Not being delivered
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
Indicative only.

*Assessment Purposes and Perspectives
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.

*Frameworks and Principles: Learning-Oriented Assessment
Boud, D., & Associates (2010). Assessment 2020: Seven propositions for assessment reform in higher education. Download from
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.
Henderson, M. et al. (2018). Feedback for Learning: Closing the Assessment Loop. Framework for Effective Feedback.[incl. Infographic]. Australian Government Dept. of Education and Training/Monash, Deaking & Melbourne Universities..
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.
Rust, C. et al. (2005). 'A social constructivist assessment process model: how the research literature shows us this could be best practice'. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 30.3, pp. 231-240.
Sambell, K., McDowell, L. and Montgomery, C., 2012. Assessment for learning in higher education. Routledge.

*Digital Contexts and Multimodal Assessments
Lamb, James. "To Boldly Go: Feedback as Digital, Multimodal Dialogue." Multimodal Technologies and Interaction 2, no. 3 (2018): 49.
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.

*Transforming Feedback Practices
Boud, D. and Molloy, E. (2012). Rethinking models of feedback for learning: the challenge of design, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education.
Carless, D. (2014). 'Exploring learning-oriented assessment processes'. Higher Education, online first at 10.1007/s10734-014-9816-z.
Filius, R.M. et al. (2018). Strengthening dialogic peer feedback aiming for deep learning in SPOCs. Computers & Education,125, pp. 86-100.
Hounsell, D. (2015a, 2015b). Flipping Feedback. (Wise Assessment Briefings, 12). Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong, Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.
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.
Mahoney, P., Macfarlane, S. & Ajjawi, R. (2018). A qualitative synthesis of video feedback in higher education, Teaching in Higher Education.

*Assessment Literacy
Sadler (2010): Beyond feedback: developing student capability in complex appraisal. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35:5, 535-550.
Deeley, S.J. & Bovill, C. (2015): Staff student partnership in assessment: enhancing assessment literacy through democratic practices, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2015.1126551.

*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). 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.

*Emerging Themes: Big Questions about Assessment
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 Shannon Payne
Tel: (0131 6)51 1196
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information