Category Archives: Glossary

ePortfolio Glossary

This glossary includes terms relevant to ePortfolio, particularly in the Newcastle context.

Action Plan

The action plan is a list of steps the student needs to take to complete a particular goal or target. Action plan targets are given due dates and prioritised.


Blog is short for web log. This is a series of web entries ordered in reverse chronological order. A blog is a powerful tool that supports reflective learning. Most of the tasks in the Newcastle University ePortfolio involve the blog.


A competency is another word for a skill, or outcome. This is a particular attribute that you will have attained during the course of your study.


The communities are collaborative spaces where ePortfolio users can create and collaborate together, engage in discussion and explore new ideas. To find out more about communities in Newcastle University’s ePortfolio please click here.

ePortfolio PGR Management Group

There are two management groups that feed into the overall project steering group. The Chair of the Management Group for Post Graduate Research is Professor Barry Hirst, the Dean of Post Graduate Studies in the Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences.

ePortfolio UG/PGT Management Group

There are two management groups that feed into the overall project steering group. The Chair of the Management Group for Undergraduate and Post Graduate Taught programmes is Dr Franck Michel, lecturer in French in the School of Modern Languages.

ePortfolio Steering Group

The ePortfolio Steering Group has overall responsibility for the running of the ePortfolio project. Their terms of reference are:

• To ensure overall project accountability
• To priorities resources
• To take a strategic overview
• To make representation to Executive Board
• To ensure robustness of architecture
• To ensure sustainability
• To delegate the detail of responsibility and engagement with academic stakeholders to the two management groups

The Chair of the ePortfolio Steering Group is Professor Suzanne Cholerton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Learning & Teaching.

Graduate Skills Framework

The Graduate Skills Framework is a set of skills and competencies that Newcastle University feel students will develop while studying here.The Graduate Skills Framework was created in conjunction with local employers. You can find out more about the framework here.

Notification Preferences

The notification preferences are the emails users receive to notify them of different events happening in ePortfolio. For example, if a tutor records a meeting in ePortfolio, the attendees of that meeting will get an email notification to inform them of this meeting. Options for notification preferences can be changed in the Setttings section of ePortfolio. You can watch this short video that explains how to change your notification preferences.

Video demonstrating how to change your notification preferences.

Personal Development Planning

PDP is defined as ‘a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and/or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development’. [Higher Education Academy]


The process of sustained consideration after a particular event. This involves a more considered thought process than needed to describe an event. To find out more about reflection please click here.

Share Groups

Share groups are a way to share part of your ePortfolio with other people in the University. This is a single direction share however. For example. if I set up a share group and add a colleague into the group, that colleague will not know they are a member and would not be able to share back to the group. To find out more about share groups, click here.

Skill Sets

Skill sets are a collection of skills or competencies. ePortfolio users can subscribe to existing skill sets, or create their own within the ePortfolio system. To find out more about skill sets, click here.


Tags are keywords that can help to organise large amounts of data. Searching of data is more effective with the use of tags.

Online Assessment and Feedback Steering Group glossary

About the glossary:

This glossary includes terms relevant to e-assessment, particularly in the Newcastle context.See also the JISC eAssessment glossary for other helpful UK definitions.



The University ‘Virtual Learning Environment’. See for guides and for the Newcastle context.

Diagnotic Assessment

“Non-accredited assessment used to identify a learner’s strengths and weaknesses with a view to providing an appropriate learning programme. Generally undertaken at the start of a programme, diagnostic assessment therefore needs to evaluate learners’ existing levels of attainment across the range of relevant knowledge, skills and understanding..

Source: Busuttil-Reynaud, G., and J. Winkley. “e-Assessment Glossary (Extended).” Accessed via Http://www. Jisc. Ac. Uk/assessment(7 No Vember 2006) (2006).

eA&F SG (eAssessment & Feedback Steering Group)

This steering group began as a project group that led to the OLAF service (defined later).  for online invigilated multi-choice style testing. The remit is now wider, considering a variety of ways that technology can support assessment and feedback for staff and students.

The group has a remit to:

  1. Advise University e-Learning Steering Group on the institutional development of e-assessment and feedback to support student learning across the programme through formative and summative assessment. Also to provide timely and useful feedback for all assessments (including examinations) that feeds forward into improvement in performance.
  2. Monitor and support Online Assessment and Feedback (OLAF) Operations Group in the provision of an OLAF service on behalf of University e-Learning Steering Group.
  3. Identify and prioritise appropriate institutional e-assessment and feedback developments, policies and the means of implementing these sustainably.
  4. Support, on behalf of University e-Learning and Student Information Steering Group, the development of institutional e-assessment and feedback capacity and monitor associated projects.
  5. Explore innovation in the use of e-assessment and feedback.
  6. Promote and disseminate excellence in the use of e-assessment and feedback through a communications strategy that engages all relevant parties.

The eA&F SG reports to ELSI

ELSI (Elearning and Student Information Steering Group).

The eAssessment & Feedback Steering Group, the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) Steering Group, the ePortfolio Steering Group and the UNITE steering Group all report to ELSI. ELSI reports to


– Newcastle offers students the opportunity to keep an online portfolio related to their studies. This can be used for personal tutoring, reflecting on learning and/or assessment.

Formative Assessment

” Assessment that provides developmental feedback to a learner (and perhaps also their teacher) about an item, a group of items or the topic(s) to which they relate so that they can adjust their plan for future learning. As such, it usually takes place during the learning programme (rather than at the end – summative, or beginning – diagnostic). Note: In the UK formative assessment is often called “Assessment for learning”.

Source: Busuttil-Reynaud, G., and J. Winkley. “e-Assessment Glossary (Extended).” Accessed via Http://www. Jisc. Ac. Uk/assessment(7 No Vember 2006) (2006).


Part of the Turnitin suite of tools. Allows academics to type and save comments in the context of submitted work as well as provide overall feedback through Rubrics as well astyped/recorded summary comment.


System developed in Computer Science to run their online assessments

Lockdown browser 

ISS have produced a secure browser for summative exams that allows us to lock down the computer. Students cannot access other web pages or programmes whilst taking an exam. This can be used in conjunction with OLAF, LESSON and other exam systems. 

LSE (Learning Support Environment)

(Learning Support Environment). Home grown online learning environment used for the Undergraduate Medical Programme.


An alternative VLE to Blackboard currently used in Maths and Stats to support their Numbas assessments

NESS (Newcastle E-Learning Support System)

Tool originating in Computer Science at  Newcastle that is used for recording of component and module marks. The system assists schools in running Examination boards. Some schools also use NESS for submission of work and the provision of feedback to students. Students can access their marks though NESS. Marks are passed to the ePortfolio system for use by students and personal tutors. As a student, you can log in to NESS at


System developed within the School of Maths and Stats at Newcastle. It is applicable to many subject areas and has extensive support for mathematical and algebraic questions in particular.

OLAF (Online Assessment and Feedback)Service

Service / Facilitates the running of online exams (single word, multiple choice and other closed answer questions). See the support blog at

OSAF (Online Submission and Feedback)

Currently a small scale project looking at University processes that feed into submission of assignments and feedback to students.

Peer Assessment

An approach where students assess the work of their peers. This is powerful educational approach. Students receive and give feedback, see examples of other peoples work and gain an understanding of the assessment criteria


Part of the Turnitin suite of tools that allows student peer assessment of written work. Students use a rubric set up by the teacher to mark the work.


Used in conjunction with the OLAF service, this software allows us to convert between print (MS Word) exam formats and Blackboard.


Allows students to create practice questions for each other. They can take practice tests on a computer or through a mobile device.

Summative Assessment

“An assessment generally undertaken at the end of a learning activity or programme of learning which is used to make a judgment on the candidate’s overall achievement. A key purpose of summative assessment is to record, and often grade, the candidate’s performance in relation to the stated learning objectives of the programme.”

Busuttil-Reynaud, G., and J. Winkley. “e-Assessment Glossary (Extended).” Accessed via Http://www. Jisc. Ac. Uk/assessment(7 No Vember 2006) (2006).#


Text matching service intended to detect and deter plagiarism. Used widely within the University. see


(Virtual Learning Environment) – Generic term for online web services that deliver teaching materials and activities, including assessment submissions and online exams. See also LMS.


Tool that allows peer assessment of contributions to group-work. Students who work together on a project can assess peers on their contribution to the Group project. Combined with a a group mark assigned by the teacher,  an individual mark is produced for the student.  See