Electronic Management of Assessment Bookshelf

“The term electronic management of assessment (EMA) is increasingly being used to describe the way in which technology is used across the assessment life cycle to support  the electronic submission of assignments, as well as marking and feedback.”(JISC, 2013)

Draper, S.W. and Nicol, D.J. (2013) Achieving transformational or sustainable educational change. In S. Merry, M. Price., D. Carless., & M. Taras (eds) Reconceptualising feedback in higher education: Developing dialogue wth students.  London: Routledge, pp190-203

e-affect, Appreciative Inquiry Assessment and feedback Available from http://jiscdesignstudio.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/52211921/Appreciative%20Inquiry_script.pdf

Ferrell, G. & Gray, L. (2013) Changing assessment and feedback practice: How to approach large-scale change in assessment and feedback practice with the help of technology. Available at www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/changing-assessment-and-feedback-practice

Ferrell, G. & Gray, L. (2016) Electronic management of assessment (EMA) in higher education: processes and systems: Helping HE providers to improve business processes and choose information systems to support assessment and feedback. Available at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/electronic-management-of-assessment-processes-and-systems

Ferrell, G (2013) Supporting assessment and feedback practice with technology: from tinkering to transformation Available at http://jiscdesignstudio.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/70107184/Jisc%20AF%20Final%20Synthesis%20Report%20Oct%202013%20v2.pdf

Grieve, Rachel; Padgett, Christine R.; Moffitt, Robyn L. (2016-01-01). “Assignments 2.0: The role of social presence and computer attitudes in student preferences for online versus offline marking”. The Internet and Higher Education 28: 8–16. doi (Links to an external site.):10.1016/j.iheduc.2015.08.002

JISC Briefings

Nicol, D. (2009) Transforming assessment and feedback: enhancing integration and empowerment in the first year. Published by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.  Full text

Nicol, D, J. & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006), Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice, Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199-218.

Parkin, H. et al (2012) A role for technology in enhancing students’ engagement with feedback, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 37:8, 963-973, DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2011.592934

Price, M., and B. O’Donovan. 2008. Feedback – All that effort, but what is the effect? Paper presented at EARLI/Northumbria Assessment Conference. August 27–29, in Potsdam, Germany

University of Huddersfield,  Activity Cards for Staff Development. Available at http://jiscdesignstudio.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/68762994/ITEAM%20AfL%20activity%20cards.docx

University of Strathclyde, Re-engineering Assessment Practices in Higher Education Avaliable at http://www.reap.ac.uk/Home.aspx


Highlighting Attitudes: Handling resistance to change

I’ve been thinking about issues of change management in HE-TEL since starting the Lego Serious Play in Higher Education project. The following objections are some I’m sure we’ve all experienced:

“The Open University researched staff attitudes to adopting new tools to support curriculum design and identified and analysed five common objections that arise equally often when changing assessment practice:

  1. “I haven’t enough time.”
    There may be a number of reasons that staff members perceive they lack time. The focus on the external factor “time” deflects attention from the individual’s skill set and their own responsibility for appraising current activities to decide what could be done differently.
  2. “It doesn’t help me”
    It is quite hard to argue against an individual who believes a change is of little personal value. However, such arguments are often ill thought through or focus on relatively superficial issues. In contrast, it is possible to demonstrate the value of changing assessment practice and the benefit to students through the extended and applied use of a tool or approach.
  3. “Prove to me this works.” or “Where is the evidence?”
    Ostensibly these are fair and reasonable requests but the link between demonstrable evidence of impact and convincing someone to use a tool or approach is not straightforward. Some academics are happy to pilot a new teaching idea with limited evidence beyond a “hunch” whereas others continue to argue against practices (especially with regard to assessment and feedback) that are recognised sector-wide as good practice. This issue may be compounded by the fear that a new approach will reveal deficiencies in existing practice or result in loss of autonomy.
  4. ‘I don’t really need to use it.’
    Demonstrating need can often be difficult due to the fact that many current measures of quality have emerged to measure current practices not new ones. Our detailed guide to managing course information has some interesting examples of where analysing data about the curriculum and about assessment practice has led to large-scale change.
  5. “Not another new initiative!”
    The broader organisational and further and higher education context is important. Many change projects describe staff within their organisation as suffering from ‘initiative fatigue’. The technology you are trying to implement may be just one of many changes taking place internally and externally.”

From JISC’s Changing assessment and feedback practice: How to approach large-scale change in assessment and feedback practice with the help of technology.

Creative and Relational Thinkers: The Potential of LEGO® Serious Play®: A New L&T Project

IMG_2630Innovative pedagogy utilising LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) has the potential to enhance enquiry-based learning for both educators and students. Innovative LSP modelling presents opportunities for students to explore their thinking on ways that enhance their learning experiences, develops creative enquiry skills and fosters teamwork and self-reflection. The outcome offers learning that is more relational and less instrumental (Skemp, 1976).

Potentially transformative approaches to learning and teaching are emerging across the sector, including flipped classrooms, double-loop learning and bricolage (Sharples et al, 2014). We believe that the LSP methodology has potential to support and enhance these innovations through a social constructivist inclusive learning experience.

LSP is a facilitated meeting, communication and problem-solving process that was developed in 1996 initially in a business context as a change management tool. It has since been adopted in Higher Education to support teaching & learning, research, and ideation. In a LSP workshop each participant builds a series of 3D LEGO® models in response to the facilitator’s questions. The metaphors produced by the 3D models serve as a powerful basis for deep group discussion, knowledge sharing and problem solving. They foster creative thinking and finding unique solutions using skills of critical reflection. This methodology utilises visual, auditory and kinesthetic skills and the methodology serves as a shared language regardless of culture or position.

“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than you can from a lifetime of conversation” – Plato

Sharples, M. et al (2014). Innovating Pedagogy 2014: Open University Innovation Report 3. Milton Keynes: The Open University. Skemp, R. R. (1976). Relational understanding and instrumental understanding. Mathematics Teaching, 77, 20-26.

Project Leads
Sarah King – Academic Practice Advisor, Centre for Learning and Academic Development

Danielle Hinton – Learning Design Consultant, College of Social Sciences

Project Start / End 1 August 2015 – 31 July 2017

University of Birmingham Educational Enhancement Project Funding Offered by the Centre for Learning and Academic Development (CLAD) and Learning Spaces with support from the Alumni Impact Fund

FLANs and MOOC Research

I’ve been mulling over the challenge of evaluation in regards to MOOCs since the end of our first delivery. Questions  swirl around how best to make sense of the learner and educator’s experiences and feedback and how this should and could feed-forward.

The latest FFLANutureLearn Academic Network (FLAN) meeting at the Open University focused on MOOC research.

I especially enjoyed the presentation from Vitomir Kovanovic from the University of Edinburgh) on ‘Inquiry-based learning & MOOCs: Challenges and opportunities’ – got me thinking, especially around how the COI model could be utilised to explore MOOCs further.

Online ≠ Free: Locating Reusable Content for Learning and Teaching

Remember that all content has a copyright owner – just because something is accessible or online doesn’t mean that you can use it without permission. Because of the difficulties associated with traditional copyright, more and more material is being created and made available under specific licenses that allow you to use or adapt (for example Creative Commons). free for educational purposes or already available in the public domain. Always check the license and when in doubt ask for permission and where required provide a reference / provide attribution and a link to the owner.

Here are a few suggestions for locating reusable materials:



Open Courseware / Learning Materials

Clicker Pedagogy

Audience response systems or Clickers are devices or phone apps that can change the class dynamics, allowing the tutor to hear from the whole group (rather than just the loud or confident students), to encourage ‘deeper’ learning (through peer instruction) and provide speedy, reliable feedback for both tutor and students about group and individual. Bruff (2012) and Beatty (2010) provide helpful frameworks that can help you design and run small group teaching in small, medium and large groups. Whenever you introduce a new technique or process into the classroom it is important that the reason for using it is thoroughly explained and expectations are communicated.


Whilst most of the research into the use of clickers and associated technologies have taken place in STEM subjects there is also a place for their use in the Social Sciences. For those interested in seeing Clickers explained please access one or more of the following videos produced by the University of Colorado at Boulder: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1D084014175F46A1