Outstanding Contribution to Feedback

Dr Michael Waugh from the School or Arts and Cultures recently won Outstanding Contribution to Feedback at The Education Awards run by Newcastle University Students’ Union. Michael shares his approach below.

When I was contacted about producing a piece for the Learning and Teaching @ Newcastle University Blog, a result of my two recent TEAs for Outstanding Contribution to Feedback, I was quite apprehensive. Reading through previous posts and case studies on the topic, I found a lot of emphasis on strategy, curricular design, formalised processes – none of which I felt reflected my own practice. I wouldn’t say I do anything particularly innovative or have an especially unique approach to providing feedback, and I was surprised (not to mention incredibly honoured) to be awarded in such a category.

Instead, I have always operated in a more personable and individualised manner, a recurring theme in students’ nomination comments for my TEAs. I never feel like I’m doing anything out of the ordinary; I just try to take the time to get to know my students, even on big modules and programmes, making it easier to respond to the specific needs of each person I teach. Universities have a tendency to split the academic and pastoral aspects of student life too much, with students being allocated to personal tutors that they might never meet in a lecture or seminar room and learning from lecturers that refuse or neglect to discuss any issues that don’t pertain to their module and its assessments.

Continue reading “Outstanding Contribution to Feedback”

Canvas & Turnitin Assignments: Key Issues

LTDS have offered each School the opportunity to receive a presentation ahead of the new academic year highlighting the key issues that should be considered when deciding how to implement coursework submission and marking procedures.​

For Schools and subject areas who are not able to take up this offer, or as a refresher for those who have been able to, a recording of the presentation and the presentation slides are now available.

​The presentation includes issues that have occurred across the last academic year that have caused extra workload for colleagues and impacted the student experience​, including:

Assignment Types

Canvas or Turnitin Assignment?

Using Similarity Checking 

Online assignment submission principles

Assessment and Feedback Procedure​

Avoiding common issues

Assignment, online marking and feedback guides

Student assignment submission guidance (ASK Website)

​Delegated Marking​

Canvas Delegated Marking

Turnitin delegated marking

Moderated Marking​

Moderated grading and double blind marking

Where to find help

Canvas orientation

All L&T Workshops and webinars

To discuss any of the issues raised further, or if are any issues that we have not captured, please contact LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

Authentic Assessment with Professor Tina Overton

Tina Overton

SAgE Faculty presentation on Authentic Assessment with Professor Tina Overton

Conversations about more authentic forms of assessment have proliferated of late, as Universities everywhere had to rethink assessment formats at short notice.

We are delighted and honoured that Professor Tina Overton has kindly agreed to work with the SAgE Faculty to help us examine how we currently think about assessment in STEM disciplines.

In this one-hour online session, Tina will share her experiences of implementing authentic assessment in Chemistry at Monash University, drawing from her distinguished career in STEM education.

A presentation will be followed by a Q&A session where you can raise issues of interest or concern about assessment in STEM subjects with Tina.

The session will be recorded and made available afterwards.

Time: Sep 15, 2021, 14:00 London

Colleagues can sign up here.

SAgE Faculty workshops on Authentic Assessment with Professor Tina Overton

In this one-hour online workshop, presented twice, Tina will encourage you to rethink your approach to assessment, to consider where you might already be providing authentic assessments, and to reflect on where and how you might want to do more in your programmes/modules. Supported by colleagues in LTDS, the session will be recorded and made available afterwards.

Workshop 1

Time: Sep 30, 2021 13:00-14:00 London.

Or Workshop 2

Time: Oct 4, 2021 13:00-14:00 London

Colleagues can sign up for either workshop here.

Biography: Professor Tina Overton

Tina was until recently Director of the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence, having previously been Distinguished Professor at Monash University where she successfully implemented large scale moves to active and context-based learning and authentic assessment in Chemistry. She has a 20 year plus track record in STEM education and is passionate about improving the student learning experience.

If you have any queries about these events please get in touch with LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

You might also be interested in other upcoming learning and teaching events and webinars.

Getting ready for the new academic year

Colleague typing on a laptop

With the new academic year fast approaching, we at LTDS are offering a week of online interactive learning sessions to help you get ready for the new academic year.

Here are more details about the new and exciting sessions. You can enrol on each of the six sessions below.

Learning from strategic digital education projects 

This session will take place on Thursday 9 September, 12.00 – 13.00.

This session will outline the achievements made in three strategic blended learning projects in the School of Engineering, Newcastle University Business School and the School of Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Sciences. It will demonstrate the changes made to programmes and provide an opportunity to ask how it was done in a Q & A.

Sign up to the session through elements.

How to Make a Podcast

This session will take place on Friday 10 September, 13.00 – 14.00.

Newcastle University Learning and Teaching podcast was launched recently. The appetite for podcasting in education is going through a surge in interest in using this engaging medium with students. This workshop will take you through everything you need to know to feel confident and capable to make your own podcast.  

Sign up to the session through elements.

Saving time and enriching your courses with Canvas Commons  

There are two sessions available on Tuesday 7 September, 14:00 – 15:00 and Thursday 9 September, 11:00 -12:00.

Canvas Commons gives us a really easy way of sharing, finding and importing course content into Canvas courses.  We can use Commons to share a whole range of content types including, assignments, pages, quizzes, images as well as entire modules.      

This hands-on webinar provides an opportunity to explore  Canvas  Commons.  You’ll add content from Commons to your sandbox course.  We will consider what you need to do before sharing content and  discuss  examples of how sharing content can save time and enrich your courses. 

Sign up to the session through elements.

Getting your Canvas course ready for next year  

There is a session taking place on Monday 6 September, 15.00 – 16.00 and you can find further dates here.

The aim of this short webinar is to support you while you create your new Canvas courses for the 2021/22 academic year.   You will learn the process for new course creation, how to build your canvas course, and how to check your content is accessible.

The topics that are covered include, blueprints, content and assignment import from the previous year’s course. As well as homepage, curse navigation menu, accessibility, and publishing your content and your canvas course.

Sign up to the session through elements.

Using H5P to create engaging digital content

There are three H5P sessions over the course of this week. Monday 6 September at 13.00, Wednesday 8  September at 9.00, and Thursday 9 September at 14.00.

What is H5P? H5P is a resource that lets you create simple interactive content like interactive videos, quizzes, games, presentations, and more.

This training webinar offers a 30-minute introduction to H5P looking at some of the benefits in using this tool, followed by an optional 30-minute task where you can try creating some H5P content, with guidance.

Sign up to the session through elements.

Digital assessment – outlining the possibilities and processes

This session will take place on Thursday 9 September, 15.00 -16.00.

Assessing students in new ways and delivering feedback remotely during the pandemic has given us as a community of educators and learners a wealth of new experiences and ideas.  As we begin to return to campus, further digital assessment opportunities open up with the introduction of the Unversity’s new digital exam system Inspera Assessment

This session will share some of these new possibilities and provide an opportunity to reflect on what to retain from our recent experiences, as well as exploring how digital assessment can further enhance authentic assessment and ensure it is accessible to all our students. 

Sign up to the session through elements.

If you have any questions please get in touch with LTDS@ncl.ac.uk.

Announcing the University’s new Digital Exam System: Inspera Assessment

In September 2021 we will be launching a new system for centrally supported digital exams, called Inspera Assessment. Implementing the system will enable the Digital Exam Service to: 

  • Deliver secure locked down present-in-person exams on University computers and students’ own laptops, monitored by University invigilators 
  • Ensure that digital exams are accessible to all our students, and enhance the student experience of exams 
  • Increase the University’s digital exam capacity in the long term 
  • Enable more authentic exams by introducing new functionality

New exam types possible with Inspera will include:  

  • Students taking written exams online, by typing their answers on computer, and incorporating drawings or written calculations done on paper into their online answers where needed. 
  • Allowing access to specific online resources or applications during a secure exam, using allow listing functionality. 

Introducing Inspera is a big step forward for education, assessment and feedback at Newcastle University.  Adopting a specialist digital exam system allows us to do much more than would be possible if we continued to use the Virtual Learning Environment for digital exams.

Choosing a digital exam system 

Inspera has been selected as our digital exam system following a rigorous procurement process, which began with requirements mapping workshops in February 2020, attended by over 60 academic and professional services staff.  The procurement was postponed for a year as a result of the global pandemic, and restarted in semester 2 2020/21 when colleagues had the opportunity to feed in any new or updated requirements via an online survey.   

Once the tender was issued key digital exams stakeholders contributed to a rigorous evaluation process to decide on the system that best fit our requirements.  Students and staff were invited to volunteer for usability testing in each system that met the mandatory technical requirements. The team are very grateful to the 36 colleagues, and 13 undergraduate and postgraduate students, who completed a total of approximately 150 hours of usability testing between them! 

Inspera scored the highest overall for both usability, and for technical and functional requirements. 

Rolling out Inspera 

As standard all 2021/22 modules that have a present-in-person digital exam in MOFS will use Inspera.  If the public health situation requires, it will be possible for these modules to use the system for open book take home exams.

Numbas maths assessment system remains an option digital exams that need specialist mathematics functionality.

The system will be available for additional new digital exams from 2022/23 onwards.  There will be opportunities in the coming months to see demonstrations of the software, and learn more about the new types of assessment that it makes possible.  If you would like to learn more now, please contact digital.exams@newcastle.ac.uk

How to get started  

The Digital Exams Service team will contact all 2021/22 module teams with a digital exam in their MOF at the beginning of September, with details of the process for preparing their exam. 

Training will also launch in September 2021, and all colleagues who will be using Inspera in the new academic year are encouraged to sign up.   

Online resources to help students prepare for a digital exam will be published in September, and students will also be able to try out a demo exam in Inspera to help familiarise themselves with the system. 

If you are interested in introducing a new digital exam using Inspera in future, or if you have any queries about a 2021/22 digital exam, please contact digital.exams@newcastle.ac.uk

Students: Have your say about digital exam software

Four students accessing electronic resources together

At Newcastle University we are choosing new software for students to take digital exams.  The exams will include auto-marked questions like multiple choice or fill in the blank, and written exams that you can take online.  Students will be able to use the software on their own laptops, or use university computers.  

The software we choose must be user friendly.  That’s why we’re inviting students to volunteer for usability testing.  Your input will be key in determining the software that students will use in the future at Newcastle. 

What’s usability testing and how can I get involved? 

  • Complete the testing online any time that suits you, between Monday 26 April 2021 and Friday 21 May 2021 
  • You need a computer connected to the internet 
  • You will be given login details, and a series of tasks to do in each system 
  • When you finish the tasks in each system, complete a survey about how user friendly it is  
  • You may need to install some software on your computer.  You can uninstall it when you’ve finished testing 
  • You will need to test up to 4 software systems.  Testing each one will take approximately 1 hour, and you can split the time up however you want, to fit your schedule 

Why take part? 

Sign up 

Complete this form by 12 noon on Wednesday 21 April 2021 to volunteer. 

You will receive further details when you sign up.  If you have any questions, please contact digital.exams@newcastle.ac.uk.   

Buddycheck Updates

There has been a system update to Buddycheck which alongside some improvements to the student view has opened up some new functionality when creating evaluations. The major changes that users will notice are described below. User guidance available on the Digital Learning webpages has been updated to reflect these changes.

Creating an evaluation and reusing questions

When creating a new evaluation you will now be asked to add a title before moving to the full evaluation set up page. There is now the option to use a previous evaluation as a template. To use existing questions in a new evaluation you now need to select an old evaluation as a template.

Buddycheck create evaluation screen with title entry and template selection hihglighted

Student introduction

There is now an option to add in an introduction to the evaluation for students. This will appear to students before they begin an evaluation alongside some new additional guidance on the question types included in the Buddycheck evaluation.

Student introduction test entry

Question ordering

Question order can now be updated by using drag and drop. You can preview, edit or remove questions from an evaluation using the appropriate icon.

question ordering alongside edit, preview and delete icons

Adjustment factor cap

It is now possible to set a minimum and maximum value adjustment factor cap for an individual evaluation.

The adjustment Factor is the average rating of the student divided by the overall average rating for all members of the team. This is used to adjust the individual student mark

It is possible to use either the capped adjustment factor or the original factor with no cap applied when deciding final marks.

For more information on how the adjustment factor may impact marks see the adjustment factor guidance and the adjustment factor excel example.

adjustment factor amendment options

Adding team questions

Alongside the existing ability to create scored questions, it is now possible to create team questions that ask students to answer a 5-scale question about the team as a whole (strongly agree to strongly disagree). Team questions do not contribute to the adjustment factor. 

Team question creation screen

Option to ask students to ‘motivate’ peer question score

When creating a peer question it is now possible to ask students to optionally motivate  scores, i.e. provide a comment as to why they have selected a score for their peer. This is now possible as part of the question rather than through the use of open questions at the end of the evaluation.

For any queries on these changes please contact LTDS@ncl.ac.uk or see the guidance at the Digital Learning webpages.

Online Assignment Submission Principles

In 2014  University Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committee agreed a set of principles which stated that all appropriate assessments should be submitted through Turnitin. 

Now we have moved to Canvas as the Virtual Learning Environment, this has opened up some new options for online submission. Alongside the Turnitin tool it is now possible to create Canvas assignments, which offer features like double blind marking, group submission and moderated marking, whilst still using the Turnitin similarity checker.    

Given the new functionality now available, this is an appropriate time to revisit the principles.  The updated Online Assignment Submission Principles were approved by University Education Committee in August 2020.   

These principles are guidelines for how to get the most from submissions, advising that the Turnitin Similarity checks are carried out on Canvas and Turnitin assignments. If you allow students to submit multiple drafts they should not be allowed to see the similarity score, unless the assessment is focused on improving the students’ academic writing. Where appropriate the students’ work should be added to the Turnitin repository.   

The principles recommend that Schools communicate to their students when their work is going to be put through the Turnitin similarity checker.    

Full details are available in the Online Assignment Submission Principles document Online-Assignment-Submission-Principles.pdf  

If you require support creating assignments, or using the marking tools, please see our list of Canvas webinars https://services.ncl.ac.uk/digitallearning/canvas/colleagues/training/ 

or the Flexible Learning 2020 Webinar programme https://services.ncl.ac.uk/digitallearning/contactandsupport/dropins/ 

Digital exam system usability testing

Are you a member of academic or professional services staff interested in digital exams?

The digital exam system procurement process is going ahead as planned, and we are making adjustments to enable staff to participate in usability testing while remote working. 

We appreciate that this is a very busy time for colleagues across the University. However, it is necessary to go ahead with usability testing now to support the digital exam system procurement process.  If you are interested and have capacity to participate in usability testing your contribution will be very valuable. 

We are looking for volunteers to test digital exam systems, to help assess how user friendly each one is.  Testers’ feedback will be a key part of the evaluation stage of the tender process, and have a direct impact on which digital exam system the University introduces from next academic year.   

Usability testing is open to all University staff.  You can choose to test from the perspective of either: 

An exam administrator testing how to create exam settings, and manage marking and moderation processes.  Approximately 90 minutes per system. 

An academic testing how to create exam questions, and carry out marking and moderation.  Approximately 2 hours per system. 

To participate you need to commit to test all of the systems that meet the University’s mandatory requirements, which we estimate may be between 2 and 4 systems.  This is required to ensure that the evaluation process is fair, and we’ll be able to confirm the number of systems being tested the week before the testing begins.   

Full instructions and video demonstrations will be provided for each testing task. You can complete the testing tasks at any time that suits your schedule over the usability testing period from Monday 1 June to Monday 15 June. 

To register your interest in doing usability testing please complete this form by 12 noon on Tuesday 26 May 2020.  Please contact digital.exams@newcastle.ac.uk with any queries. 

Support for online marking

Books and a computer screen

There are an extensive range of new resources available on the Digital Learning Website to support you with setting up assignments and marking online.

These include screencasts and TEL Guides that you can work through in your own time, as well as daily webinars and drop ins, if you would prefer some real time support.

A number of resources cover how to get started with Turnitin and how to get the most out of the marking tools in Turnitin Feedback Studio. There’s a summary of what’s available below.

The website also includes support for other tools including Blackboard Tests, Numbas and how to use Recap assignment folders for presentations.

Turntin

Getting started with marking online

For colleagues who want to find out:

  • How to access the Turnitin assignment
  • How to use the main marking tools including bubble comments, inline comments, feedback summary and audio feedback.

Support available


Making use of the additional tools in Turnitin

As well as the tools outlined above you might also be interested in additional marking tools including:

Quick Marks

Comment libraries that can help speed up your marking.

Support available

Rubrics

Rubrics can help the marker provide consistency in marking, and will help students clearly understand what is required to improve on future assignments.


Have a question about marking online?

Come along to an online drop in session, happening everyday, to speak to a member of the team. We can help with questions about the application of any of the tools and approaches to support remote delivery of teaching and assessment.

You can also send your questions to LTDS@ncl.ac.uk or to the IT Service Desk.