Tag Archives: Assessment

Transition to the Digital Exams Service: A Timeline

Following our October 2019 post introducing the digital exam service, we have a progress update and some news about what’s happening next.  Centrally supported digital exam provision (including the OLAF Service, and the Diversifying online exam provision project) is being combined into a single service, and we are reviewing our requirements ready to tender for a system that meets our needs. 

February 2020 

Requirement Mapping Workshops will be taking place. The outcomes of these sessions will help to inform the requirements that we will take to system providers.  All academic and professional services staff with an interest in digital exams are invited to contribute.  Please sign up via the link to have your say! 

March 2020 

Tender for digital exam system (30-35 days response time). A set of final requirements will be issued. 

April – May 2020 

Scoring of tender submissions against requirements will take place alongside user testing of software that meets our mandatory requirements.  Look out for updates about how to get involved. 

June  July 2020 

A provider will be awarded the contract to supply a digital exam system to the University.  

Following this, work will be undertaken to move as much of existing digital exam questions and content into the new system as is possible. 

August 2020 

The new system will be vigorously tested and integrated with University systems. User guidance and training for all stakeholder will be developed. 

Note that August resit exams will need to be taken on paper. If an exam ran in Blackboard or WISEflow the resit will need to take place on paper. This is in part to prevent students having to use a different system to take an August from the one used for the main exam, and in part because testing and implementation of the new system will not have been completed by the resit period. 

September 2020 

Digital Exam Service launches with new software – OLAF is no more. 

All digital exams previously taken in both Blackboard as part of the OLAF service and in WISEflow as part of the Diversifying Online Exam Provision project will be delivered using the chosen software. 

Training will be offered to all academic and professional services staff involved in delivering digital exams, and briefing information will be available for students. 

Phil Race and Sally brown – Assessment and feedback videos

Heriot-Watt University have released a range of videos of Professor Phil Race and Professor Sally Brown discussing key elements of assessment and feedback.

Phil is an authority on assessment and is widely published, including the excellent “The Lecturer’s Toolkit”.

Sally is Emerita Professor at Leeds Metropolitan and regularly keynotes at Educational conferences. Sally developed the National Teaching Fellowship scheme when working at the Higher Education Academy.

We’ve embedded some of the videos below, but please visit Youtube to view more of these videos.

Giving your first lecture

Marking your first assignment

Sally Brown – Marking your first assignment

Feedback on Assessment

Sally Brown – Feedback on assessment

Student Tips – feedback on assessment

Measuring Learning

Introducing the digital exams service

Building on the solid foundations of OLAF provision, and the successful first 2 years of the Diversifying and Expanding Online Exam Provision project, the University’s Technology Enhanced Learning Sub-Committee have approved the launch of a new combined Digital Exams service.

The story so far …

Newcastle University’s Online Assessment and Feedback (OLAF) Service has been running high stakes secure online exams using Blackboard’s test tool since 2007/08. The 13 years since that first exam have seen OLAF come of age, supported by well-established institutional processes that ensured all 132 OLAF exams in 2018/19 went smoothly.

In 2017/18 the Diversifying and Expanding Online Exam Provision project was launched, and the first of some new types of digital exams were piloted using software called WISEflow. Bring Your Own Device was introduced, enabling students to use their own laptops to sit a secure digital exam. Alongside this, moving essay and long written answer exam questions from paper to online has also become possible for the first time.

Continue reading Introducing the digital exams service

Inclusive Practice Network annual conference 2019 Inclusive assessment: innovations in practice

Thursday 6 June 2019, University of Bath
Call for Papers now open

If you have an idea for an interactive workshop  submit your abstract by the 31 January 2019.

Examples topics include:

  • Student choice in assessment
  • Providing alternative assessments
  • Quality assurance and equivalency
  • Allowing extra time in exams for all students
  • Administration of examination innovations
  • Innovating mitigating circumstances processes

Your abstract should include:

  • A short title of no more than 20 words.
  • The name and contact details for the lead presenter and name of any co-presenters
  • A clear statement of the topic of your session will develop participants’ understanding, skills and knowledge through discussion, practice or activity.
  • An outline of the proposed schedule of the session. Each workshop will last for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Please return these details to mike@inclusioninhe.com

Assessment and Feedback

By Helen Webster, Head of the Writing Development Centre

“The structure doesn’t flow”

“You need to engage more critically with the literature”

“More detail and greater depth of discussion needed”

“Hard to follow – make sure your points are clearly expressed”

It’s frustrating both to give and receive feedback repeatedly on the same issues and not see any improvement. Feedback is highlighted in the NSS and NUSU campaigns so we know that students see it as a priority. We also know that academic staff don’t always feel that students are engaging with their feedback or even recognise it as such. Continue reading Assessment and Feedback

Transforming Assessment Webinars

Dr Mathew Hillier, Monash Education Academy, Monash University, Australia and Professor Geoffrey Crisp, PVC-Education, University of New South Wales, Australia will be hosting a series of webinars over the coming months focusing on transforming assessment with  topics such as digital literacy, written and audio feedback and blended simulation-based learning. Take a look at the further details below. Continue reading Transforming Assessment Webinars

Student trade fair: come along to this a student, industry and academic event

Advertising for a mechanical engineering student trade fair.
Come along to the Lindisfarne Room on 25 April 2017

Anyone is welcome to come along to this exciting student trade fair.

  • Designed in response to industry and employer requests for graduates that can apply their learning, and who are entrepreneurial in their approach to developing new approaches, products and services for industry.
  • A chance for students to showcase their problem solving, innovation, product design and commercial awareness skills through problem-based, demand-led design.

This is about design and selling; in industry you need to present to clients and get their buy-in through a sales pitch. It takes students outside their comfort zone to look from the point of view of a client
(MWH/Stantec)

Mechanical Engineering  Trade Fair
25 April 2017
2pm to 4.30pm
Lindisfarne Room
Kings Road Centre

There is another Trade Fair for Computing Science on 2 May:
Computing Science Trade Fair
2 May 2017
2pm to 4.30pm
Lindisfarne Room
Kings Road Centre

Star Case Study – Mock Viva Video in Politics

Doing your viva in Politics has been revolutionised by a new mock viva video for Ph.D. students.

 

Politics PGR Director Professor Tony Zito and Kate Manzo (Geography) realised that students often were not attending or were not paying attention to more traditional approaches to preparing students for their viva, so he decided to show them exactly what to expect by making a video.

Tony said: ‘A lot of students were just not coming to the sessions I was running about vivas and what their viva would be like.

‘I think for those who were in first or second year of their Ph.D.s their viva seemed very far away and for those nearing the end of their project the viva had become something too scary to think about.

‘So we decided to make sure that there would be something online that they could always access, perhaps even in the middle of the night when they were worrying about an upcoming viva.’

Tony enlisted the help of politics student Russell Foster, himself preparing for an upcoming viva.

Russell agreed to be filmed during a mock viva with Tony and Kate taking the roles of internal and external examiners.

The mock viva was kept very formal, with Russell entering the room in a suit to greet his examiners, just like in the real thing.

‘It was great of Russell to agree to do that on camera because it’s a pretty scary thing but he was happy to help other students.

‘The video worked really well and will hopefully give other students an idea of what to expect as their viva looms.

‘You can see Russell go through the whole process so hopefully it will be helpful to them to see the whole thing so clearly laid out.’

The video was posted on Youtube, with Russell’s permission and is used frequently as a resource for students in GPS approaching the end of their Ph.D.s.

Tony said: ‘We’re not sure of the impact yet. We did this in October 2013 and Ph.D.s are a slow process so we’ve not had that many students through yet to notice any particular trends but we expect that it can only have a positive impact.’

Thinking of doing a similar thing in your school? Contact LTDS@ncl.ac.uk  for more information or for technical support.

For more examples of good practice in teaching and learning from across Newcastle have a look at the Case Studies Database.

STAR CASE STUDY: Using Industry Professionals in Law

Lecturers in the Law School are making use of industry professionals to teach students about ‘real-life’ as a legal professional.

The school makes use of professionals from local practices to assess first year’s interviewing techniques and invites Law Lords and senior judges to meet students in order to help them to establish contacts and feel comfortable in the formal and often cliquey legal world.

Jonathan Galloway, just one lecturer making use of professionals in both law and economics as part of his Competition Law module, thinks that regular contact with those working in the profession gives Newcastle students the edge.

Dr Jonathan Galloway of Newcastle Law School‘Not only is it great to hear from someone who can tell you in a more anecdotal sense how the theory you learn about during your degree works in real world situations, it also builds students’ confidence.

‘For many of them, the world of court, particularly places like the supreme court or Parliament can seem completely out of reach. Meeting a senior judge or law lord can help them to feel more comfortable and confident in applying for jobs or placements at these types of places later.

‘For some Newcastle students, they may never have met a barrister or a judge before. Having people who work at some of the most prestigious firms or in the top jobs deliver elements of their courses helps them to see that these sorts of professions are within reach for them and hopefully encourages them to aim high after they graduate.’

For Jonathan, this works both ways: ‘It also works the same way for the firms themselves. Although many of the most prestigious firms in London, they come into regular contact with students from London-based Law Schools, many may not meet many students from Newcastle.

‘Inviting them to speak means that they already have a sense of what Newcastle students are about and how much they could offer their firm as a graduate.’

The Law School makes use of professionals to assess interviewing techniques in the early stages of the degree and to deliver some lectures on modules such as Competition law and Human Rights law.

Although much of this takes place later in the course and Jonathan is keen to stress that students always already have a theoretical grounding in the area which professionals come to discuss, he thinks it is inherently valuable for the students:

‘We’ve had some really excellent people, not just lawyers but economists too to help the students get a more rounded sense of how wide-ranging legal studies is and how many different sectors the law touches upon.’

To read more about what Law is up to see the Case Study Database.

Or if you have an example of really effective teaching practice in your School do get in touch with Katherine.cooper@ncl.ac.uk.