Using technology

Students working on computers in the libraryThe use of technology in supporting teaching and learning in higher education is widespread. However, the use of technology to deliver and manage assessment is less common. So much so that in some instances there may be a disconnect between the modes and methods of learning and the ways in which students are assessed1. Many students experience blended learning throughout their programmes, only to sit down to traditional, paper-based essay questions under exam conditions for their final summative assessment. This belies the fact that using technology has the potential to address some of the fundamental issues of assessment, such as the lack of alignment between learning outcomes and assessment methods; lack of diversity in assessment methods; unclear assessment criteria; and the 'assessment overload' suffered by students (and staff) at certain times of year.

Introducing 'Technology Enhanced Assessment' (TEA)2 to your module or programme can provide a means of addressing these issues and provides further pedagogic benefits, such as the potential to enhance feedback, as well as the possibility of efficiency gains for staff. However, TEA methods are not suitable in all circumstances, for example where a tried and tested 'traditional' assessment is working well both for you and your students. After all, it is not the use of technology that results in improvements, but rather the implementation of the associated pedagogic principles. The benefits to teaching and learning that can be derived from implementing TEA should always be the driver for its introduction and these should always be weighed up against the various costs that its introduction may entail.

References

  1. Effective Assessment in a Digital Age: A guide to technology-enhanced assessment and feedback. http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/programmes/elearning/digiassass_eada.pdf [9th August 2011].

  2. Redecker, C., Leis, M., Leendertse,M. Gijsbers, G., Punie, Y., Kirschner, P. Stoyanov, S. and Hoogveld, B. (2010). The Future of Learning: New Ways to Learn New Skills for Future Jobs Results from an online expert consultation. http://ipts.jrc.ec.europa.eu/publications/pub.cfm?id=3659 [9th August 2011].

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