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Formative assessment for online learners Janet Macdonald The OU in Scotland Escalate workshop: Assessment in lifelong learning Nov 27 th 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Formative assessment for online learners Janet Macdonald The OU in Scotland Escalate workshop: Assessment in lifelong learning Nov 27 th 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Formative assessment for online learners Janet Macdonald The OU in Scotland Escalate workshop: Assessment in lifelong learning Nov 27 th 2006

2 OU in Scotland 2004-5 Key Less than 2% 2-4% 4-6% 6-8% Over 8% 15,000 students 550 tutors

3 Course provision at scale Over 600 courses 200,000 students Pre-entry level course (Openings) Undergraduate level Postgraduate level Professional Development You & your money Understanding children Creative Writing Understanding maths

4 Students from 18 - 80 majority aged 25-44 Over 70% in full time work 6% have special needs Over 20% of students join without the qualifications required for conventional university study 22% transfer credit from previous study

5 Increasing diversity in students In 2004/05 9% of new undergraduates were in 18 – 25 age group A 25% rise in this age group since 1999-2000 And not so young – the 55+ age group growing..

6 Tutors: the human link Students as identifiable individuals Blended learning approach: –using online for what it does best – targeted use of tutorials

7 My interest in assessment of online study 2 nd level undergrad Technology course + postgrad Educational Technology course: feedback from 800 students and 50 tutors over 3 years 2 nd level undergrad Education course: feedback from 200 students and 12 tutors Desk study of assessment design on 4 courses using O/L My book – examples of good practice in assessment of blended courses from wide variety institutions (Macdonald, 2006) New VLE – how shall we use these new comms tools?

8 Courses with online element Many courses make partial use of online media to provide flexibility and support new pedagogies including : extended online discussion access to wider resources, including peers

9 When learning online, students may need to develop: Information literacy (Candy, 2000; McDowell, 2002) New approaches to writing (Goodfellow & Lea, 2005) Online communication and collaboration (Salmon 2000, McConnell, 2002)

10 A more self directed approach “the challenge facing teachers is not whether to give their online students responsibility for their own learning, but how much responsibility they are going to deny or facilitate, and how they are going to do it.” Stephenson (2001) p 224

11 Harnessing the formative power of assessment.. Checking knowledge & understanding of course content Developing the process of online learning Developing self direction in learners

12 Start with simple activity.. Give feedback Build on existing competencies Rome not built in a day

13 Summarise an article on a course topic Post your summary to online forum Discuss the issues arising, in the forum Marks for: your summary of article Three postings demonstrating any of following: Timeliness, allowing group interaction before deadline Posting which encourages further interaction Posting which provides feedback to others Aligning participation with course aims

14 Write an essay on a course issue, drawing on four articles from the electronic resources Compare the use of two different search methods used to collect material for your essay, and comment on their usefulness Describe three criteria which you used to decide on the relevance and applicability of your chosen articles. Developing information literacy..

15 Open assessment criteria This assignment will be judged on the following criteria: 1.Understanding of key concepts x, y & z 2.Coherent explanation 3.Good presentation What does “coherent explanation” mean to you?

16 Sharing understanding: new approaches to note-taking? Plenary forum can be a place to describe an understanding of course materials and relate that to experience Electronic concept maps – also useful in same context

17 Model answers: using forum or wiki Teacher: How would you answer this question? Students That’s tricky. Here’s my attempt That’s great. I might also have added….

18 The E-scrapbook: sharing student writing Tutor comment:Tutor comment: Every course has its own particular approach to writing. When planning your essay, remember […] I have put together a few examples from your scripts to illustrate this point. You can learn from each other! Student quote 1:Student quote 1: I am going to look at the situated view of learning as explained in the course and give examples of personal experiences which show the connections between [...] Student quote 2:Student quote 2: What is a ‘learning situation’? Although in this analysis I use terms such as ‘my personal learning situation’ in order to situate my argument within the context of the course, the truth is [...]

19 Submit draft to forum Comment on drafts of two peers, highlighting: one aspect you liked one aspect you think could be improved Amend your own draft Marks for: submitting draft pages to forum giving constructive comments to two peers by agreed date reflection on use of peer feedback Participating in assessment

20 Assessing online learning assessment can create learning opportunities at critical points assessment can combine online learning development with course content online learners can participate in their assessment

21 Design an online activity linked to assessment What are the intended learning outcomes? –(remember information literacy; writing, communicating, collaborating) What are the criteria? What issues will influence the success of your activity?

22 General comments Cost effectiveness Developing capability for lifelong learning student learning reliability, costs

23 Learning Development Team The Open University In Scotland 10 Drumsheugh Gardens Edinburgh EH3 7QJ Telephone: 0131 226 3851 Email:

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