The Learning Designer is a relatively new role at Falmouth and is often referred to as an ‘academic developer’ in our community. Our responsibilities mostly involve being the voice of the intended person a learning activity is being delivered to. Through our experiences and research, we advocate for good practice, proven pedagogical practices, and the learner’s motivations.
The Electronic Management of Assessment project ran an informative pilot in Study Block 2 of last year with a small pilot over Study Block 3. The outcomes were not as conclusive as we would have hoped so we are running a larger, but more focused pilot over the 19/20 academic year.
The focus is concerned with the constructive alignment between the learning outcomes and assessment criteria., but with a larger set of tools to work with. The Assignment tool within Learning Space gives the option of including a rubric however through the pilot in SB2 we found that it is not fit for Falmouth’s purpose. Therefore, we have changed the use of the Assignment tool to attaching feedback sheets to the feedback area; the caveat is that the feedback file needs to contain a rubric which displays the learning outcomes aligned with assessment criteria, with a clear identification of the student’s level of achievement of the learning outcomes. This means that where subjects have an effective way of creating feedback for their students currently, you can utilise the centralised tools to disseminate the feedback to your students without having to use email or other non-supported methods.
During this period of the pilot we will be analysing the various methods you currently use across the institution and determining the best template to provide for a supported process going forward.
The aim of the pilot running in this study block is to ensure that the tools are fit for purpose within the remit of Falmouth’s requirements. We are also piloting assessment feedback principles and guidelines to support this process. We will be gathering feedback from staff and students to determine their appropriateness and how they will fit into the future of EMA.
In the background we are in preparations to start development work on automating the process of submission link creation. We are really grateful for your help with ensuring a more robust and consistent experience for the students by creating submission links within your modules according to the guidance being sent out from SPA. This really helps the students to identify the correct submission areas, and it helps professional services staff to support both students and academic staff when enquiries are made.
The new Learning Space plugin, My Feedback (going live in November) will give students and staff a new way to access feedback and assessments (respectively from Turnitin and Assignment). Students and staff will be able to get an overview of assessments on all their modules with direct access to each assessment from one screen. This will cut out clicks that mean having to navigate through each module page first.
The My Feedback plugin will also give staff an overview of the number of online submissions to an assessment, the number of non-submissions, and the number of late submissions. It can also give an overview of the marks that have been entered for the assessment once they’re marked. This, of course, only applies to online submissions, however online feedback can still be given for studio/physical submissions through these links.
On the mock-up image of the tool below you can see 3 second year TV modules with assessments on those modules listed under each module heading. The links take you straight to the assessments’ inboxes where you can then access the student’s work. You can see clearly, because of the new naming conventions, which is the EC/REFER and which is the standard submission link.
If you’d like an overview of the tool let us know and we can run you through it.
This study block sees the first phase of the Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA) project having been kicked off. The Educational Technology Team are working closely with Quality Assurance and Enhancement (QAE) and SPA, this phase of the project focuses on improving clarity of grading and summative assessment feedback.
It was clearly highlighted in the last NSS that students have significant challenges in terms of understanding marking criteria, and from that the fairness of marking. Over 600 responses on the ROS (reps online system) suggested that this area is not working as well as it could do, and they see and feel there are big differences in assessment feedback practice.
A study block 2 pilot is underway involving fourteen modules across five academic departments. This involves the use of learning space submission and feedback tools, working to a new set of assessment feedback principles, and marking against an assessment rubric. A review of this pilot, and engagement from a new EMA Academic working group will help shape an approach for an institutional wide rollout. Assessment Rubrics are already widely used at Falmouth and across academia, each one is unique to the assessment element. Using the learning space submission and feedback tools academic staff can visually represent students’ achievement (and therefore mark) in relation to their assessments. Essentially, laid out in a table format, rows display the learning outcomes being assessed, and the columns show the level to which the student is, isn’t and could be working to. See the example below:
Some comments from academics that have experience of using rubrics like the one above:
Rubrics develop/drives a level of professionalism and enables me to provide more timely feedback
Rubrics give the marker confidence that they can be more objective than subjective
Rubrics let students know how their grade was calculated and where they could improve their work
Rubrics set out expectations to aid the student to understand what they’re being graded against
Determining a consistent approach to providing summative assessment feedback to students at Falmouth will enable them to be supported centrally more effectively, and for us to measure and enhance feedback practice. The mix of practice within courses and schools causes challenges when students seek support from central services, can create a disjointed experience for both the students and staff. As we move towards more trans-disciplinarity and grow our online delivery, these challenges are worsened.
The platform for this will be Learning Space, it has submission and feedback tools available that are widely used across the HE and FE sector.
Students will receive summative assessment feedback and provisional marks for their work (ratified marks will still be available through MyFalmouth) regardless of the type of submission (artefact, performance, essay, image etc) online through Learning Space. This creates a standard process and it is one that can be centrally supported, understood, measured and enhanced.
We will be continuing and expanding the pilot to ensure that courses that have been through the new Curriculum Management process are trialling these new methods in Study Block 3.
If you’d like to get involved, or have any questions about EMA in general, please get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Today sees the end of the project! 🍾
We have successfully upgraded Learning Space to the latest version, moved from an internally hosted system to a cloud hosted platform, re-designed the theme to ensure branding is appropriate, completed 363 user stories over the past 11 months, and made 2,238 changes within the system to ensure that it is running smoothly and in line with our requirements; amongst other things:
We’ve run 81 training sessions with you since the launch of the live system in May 2018 between the 4 of us, plus hundreds of email support inquiries and hours of phone calls.
Collaboration with various teams across the institution has seen the project delivered successfully on time to provide a reliable and up to date service to you and your students, over the last 11 months some of the teams we’ve worked with have included:
- FXPlus IT – supported the project and successfully integrated University systems with Learning Space
- Communications – advice on branding guidelines
- Student Programmes and Achievement – supporting refer/defer work and decisions about setting up online hand-ins
- Information Governance – Compliance and GDPR guidance
- Library – Talis integration and testing
- Quality Assurance and Enhancement/SITs – central module details and student enrolments
We are now moving the project into ‘Business as Usual’ which means that we will start to work on user stories that were not in scope for the main project, and on improvements to the system. Please get in touch if you have any ideas or requirements.