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
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
To find out more a student intern, working with staff in LTDS, evaluated existing feedback forms and gathered opinions from students to identify what works and what could be improved. The project considered a total of 66 forms from 19 different schools and included focus groups and interviews with individual students.
What did they find?
These are a few key findings and you can find full details in the project report.
Have clear, separate sections showing:
- Strengths and areas for improvement
- Clear advice for future work
Only use tick boxes for objective areas of the marking criteria, such as grammar. When tick boxes were used for subjective areas, such as argument, students found this unhelpful.
Look at your feedback forms and consider whether these should be redesigned. Consult with the students in your school as part of the process.
Utilising the form
Type feedback, wherever possible.
Introduce structured opportunities to help students understand:
- expectations of the marking criteria
- the ways in which this is reflected in the feedback sheet
Discuss how you use marking sheets with your colleagues. Try to develop a consistent approach to:
- the volume of feedback
- the use of notes in margins
For more information get in touch with LTDS@ncl.ac.uk
Are you looking to share knowledge and ideas with higher education professionals nationally and globally?
The Higher Education Academy (HEA) Communities of Practice offer an exciting opportunity for members to take part in discussions, webinars, blogs, thought platforms and more . Communities focus on a number of keys areas including employability, and assessment and feedback.
Interested? Read on to find out more. Continue reading Higher Education Academy: Communities of Practice