Electronic Management of Assessment – HeLF Forum at University of Brighton

Towards the end of June I attended and presented at the ‘Heads of eLearning Forum’ – HeLF – ‘Electronic Management of Assessment’ (EMA) SIG Event held at the University of Brighton. It was a small but fascinating gathering with most attendees being senior ‘Learning Technologists’ and ‘Heads of eLearning’ from universities across the UK.

The sessions included:

Several themes were reiterated in the presentations and ensuing discussions:

  • there is a clear trend towards online submissions of written assignments.
  • online *marking* (as opposed to ‘feedback’) is perceived as problematic amongst academics – particularly where there is a perceived trend towards making this mandatory.
  • online marking was viewed as particularly problematic where marking is of longer pieces of work – for example dissertations – and higher volumes of work.
  • some universities have invested in extra hardware for their tutors where online marking is being piloted – including large screens, tablet devices etc. – and one attendee mentioned their institution has invested in high volume printers for fast printing and distribution of uploaded assignments for subsequent ‘manual’ marking.
  • none of the universities represented had marking / feedback systems which communicated direct with their equivalent of QL
  • online *feedback* was seen as much less problematic than online marking – and indeed as desirable and popular – the OAT presentation was also well received, with attendees being interested that it was often used to provide online feedback on physical portfolios / artefacts and performances and that it could be used with a variety of VLEs.