MEd Academic Practice – TELT 4

Wordgirl’s workload has hit an all-time high at the moment with the opening of my second The Temporary project, a transcultural graffiti and street art takeover in Manchester – RareKind China (on show until 3 April 2016);  finalising the course documents for the new MA Contemporary Arts China course I’ve been co-developing with the CCVA/BCU (now open to applicants); arts writing here, there and everywhere on everything Chinese contemporary arts, mainly for Art Radar Asia; research presentations and arts workshops, and then life, just dealing with Amoy tiger tummy and life. I’m not quite sure how I get it all done, especially up against finishing my PhD (now resumed with completion in July 2016 fingers crossed)…nearly forgot about it for a moment! Let’s just say I can’t wait until the summer, yes I’m wishing time away! Only PhD time.

So 2016 you’re already evaporating (I dread to think how many times I’ve written that on this blog in the many years I’ve been writing it) in so far that I’ve finished the Curriculum Design module for the Masters in Education in Academic Practice I’m currently studying (and received a pretty good grade as far as I’m concerned – 65 is good right?). This means I’m now two thirds into the Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching (TELT) module, where my studies have recently been fuelled by positive feedback I received from the module coordinator. Tech seems to be infiltrating more an more of my research lately, where I can’t wait until post-PhD to spend some time testing and trialling.

The fourth TELT session (out of six) focused on ‘Assessment and Feedback’ including the benefits of technology, changes in the digital landscape in which we live including the many challenges we face, Moodle tools and the plagiarism tool Turntin.

We began the session (this was at the end of last year so a belated blog post) by sharing with the group our research into using Moodle activities and the associated screen casts (as learned in the previous TELT session) we were asked to create – in my case on ‘Scheduler’ and ‘Quiz’. For some reason, I left my laptop at home and only discovered this when I looked for it on the train to do some article editing. Well done wordgirl…this set the tone for the day. So I had to talk from notes rather than let my screen casts play out. Here’s short soundbytes about all the different Moodle activities from the TELT group…an incredibly helpful morning and insight into what is available to develop learning and teaching, to help us and students…

TELT session 4

  • Big Blue Button – originally a open web source conferencing tool, now working as an interactive classroom. Accessed and for staff and students. Uses audio and video, private chat, document sharing, viewer or moderator access. As a viewer you can join the conference, ask questions, and have a chat in the environment. Can ask questions orally and by text which can be seen collectively or individually. As a moderator you can mute yourself and others and can eject other users from the session. “A true interactive system”. It is a live system, but the presentation can be saved for later. It is not dynamic – how is it different to chalk and talk? There is no maximum class size. It is out of the normal environment there it is not geographically or time restricted. Are there other platforms that do this? There is also scope for the students to use it. Underused tool. Discussion forum online. Scope of flexibility.
  • Lesson – Different options for the student in terms of how they engage. Allows tutors to create and dictate content and multiple content include presentations, audio, video, quizzes, images and more. Gives the student time to make sense of their learning. Get students to work through material. Lesson as an extension of what the book resource is…you can ask questions here and make the student get things right before they move on. It affords you that personalized learning for the student, getting through the content at their own pace. You can limit the number of attempts they can make, tell them to move on and when…it is the interactivity you can control. You can look at individual students engagement and success with a lesson. You can use it to test…diagnostic, formative, feedback and more. It is a narrative of content. If you move away from that it can be a “branching scenario”, letting students choose a/progress through certain path. It could do what Shareville does. To get the best out of it, you’d have to spend a lot of time using it.
  • Assignment – Allows students to upload their work for it to be marked and graded. An “upload point”. Allows different feedback types for the students such as written, audio and video. More process rather than creative. The creative side is what the student can submit…file types and formats…what the student submits. You can add marking criteria and rubrics. If you are sharing the marking with colleagues, you can set a proforma of response types. Same level of marking between different people. Limitation of file size submission from students.
  • Wiki – Enables participants to add and edit a collection of web pages. A wiki can be collaborative, with everyone being able to edit it, or individual, where everyone has their own wiki which only they can edit. A history of previous versions of each page in the wiki is kept, listing the edits made by each participant. Highlighting changes. Wikis have many uses, such as for group lecture notes or study guides; members of a faculty to plan a scheme of work or meeting agenda together; students to collaboratively author an online book, creating content on a topic set by their tutor; collaborative storytelling or poetry creation, where each participant writes a line or verse; a personal journal for examination notes or revision (using an individual wiki). It can effectively become a website…a practice set up. Useful for a collaborative tool. Main features are the history and the comment option…track changes. There is version control. It is good to see how your students are engaging with a topic. It is a student-autonomy based activity. Good evidencing tool. Doesn’t notify you of changes.
  • Scheduler – An appointment scheduler for planning face-to-face meetings between teachers and students. To plan personal and group tutorial sessions. Teachers can set up time slots, and students can choose one of these on Moodle. Students are presented with a list of available slots (slots which have already been booked are not displayed at all). Can book one-to-one and group meetings, and with more than one tutor. Place dictated by the student. Students can only book through Moodle/Moodle login. Can set up time parameters to prevent time problems/flexibility…allows you to share suddenly available time to see students. Links to calendar in Moodle not separate entities.
  • Quiz – Allows the teacher to design and build quizzes consisting of a large variety of Question types, including multiple choice, matching, numerical, multiple choice, true-false, and short answer questions. Specific to topic or theme. Can be linked to assessment. Questions can be used again as form an archived Question Bank. Use in face-to-face learning session to encourage self-directed use (confidence with use). How can it be used for explorative learning? Explorative questioning for subjects that don’t have black and white answers. Students can populate with own questions. Research Exam type questions. Like Socrative just not as glossy. Good to identify what are the red herrings?. Not linked to Lesson…quizzes in Lesson are specific to content.
  • Glossary – Populated definitions…like a dictionary. Can be used with students to identify key elements and meanings with video and sound.
  • Survey – Pre-determined questions…polling tool. Use it to gain data from students about the lesson and what they thought of the lesson. Only within Moodle. Alternatives like Socrative, Survey MonkeyPoll Everywhere, Padlet and Typeform. Depends how locked in you want the survey to be. You can get reports from the survey too.
  • Forum – Can allow collaborative working…posting comments as part of a thread. Has a range of designs to suit different purposes. Social constructivist…can be tutor-led. Use of the forum more beneficial as it is peer student led. It gives choice through format. Like the Wiki, it can loose focus and needs to be re-assessed in terms of use. Allows tutor to reply. Potential for multi-media approach…contribution assessed by tutor and peers. Very linear. Issues with lurking…taking information without contributing. You can add restrictions and conditions to the forums. Enforce peer learning. Encourage an inclusive approach.
  • Journal – Allows tutor to have students create journals to be shown to the tutor only. Student capture own thoughts. Option student one-to-one interaction. Feedback and opportunity for personalized learning. Others may not be able to benefit as it’s only for on-to-one use. Personal learning development.
  • Databases – Searchable platform for glossary of terms. Put it all in one locations. Data stored at once. Better security. Cater for the future. Allows teacher and students to build and display. Bank of entries. Potential to carry it on year on year.
  • Pages – Is a simplified version of Book.
  • Chat – Encourages interaction away from classroom. Tutor-led, can be managed…this can be time consuming to monitor. Good to create forums for discussion. Great to link in with the students…it’s how you manage that. Encourage its use pre-session for feedback.
  • Realtime Quiz – Similar to quiz…it’s quiz for the classroom environment. Instant feedback and time limited. Does it fill all student learning styles. It’s great that the tutor is there…how can you share your time in response to the quiz. Came out in response to Socrative. Not popular to use. Other people use Socrative, Padlet or Poll Everywhere.
  • Files – Aesthetic organisational tool. You an organise the resources into one file. It is a way of tidying up your Moodle.
  • Workshop – Set an environment where students can peer review the submitted work of other students. Tutors can upload a rubric to guide them in the peer review process. Complex to set up to define the criteria.

It is about demystifying these activities with the students. Ask the students about the use of the activities – why or why not are they using them? Get feedback which allows you to enhance the activity.

“Assessment is an important driver for our students, it lies at the heart of the learning experience and forms a significant part of the workload.”

Assessment and Feedback theory can be cited from:

  • Gibbs and Simpson
  • Black and Wiliam
  • Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick
  • Boud and Sadler

JISC research into learners’ experience of e-learning (2009) revealed they have high level of ownership of hardware however, varying levels of competence for education purposes. Institutional assessment and feedback practice needs to adapt to the digitally changing landscape. We started to question what types of assessment we currently do…these included essays, reports, presentations, practical presentations, artefacts, exhibitions/artworks. Is there scope to change the assessment? Can the students change the scope?

What potential contributions could technology have on assessment and feedback?What are the strengths in encouraging a technology enhanced learning and feedback? What are the benefits of doing this?

For assessment:

  • Variety of assessment types and authenticity in design of assessments
  • Improves learner engagement – interactive formative activities with adaptive feedback
  • Choice in timing and locations
  • Capture wider skills and attributes not easily assessed by other means – simulations, e-portfolios and interactive games
  • Efficient submission, marking moderation and data storage

For feedback:

  • Consistent, accurate results with opportunities to combine human with computer marking
  • Personalized and immediate feedback
  • Increased opportunities for learners to act on feedback – e-portfolios
  • Innovative approaches based around use of creative media and online peer and self-assessment
  • Accurate, timely and accessible evidence on the effectiveness of curriculum design and delivery
  • Audio and video feedback – more tone of voice, register, implication
  • Two way conversation – Skype – giving opportunity for the student to state their point of view
  • Annotation of feedback
  • Standardised formative activity
  • Peer-to-peer feedback

Aims of effective assessment and feedback:

  • To enable learners to study and perform to the best of their ability
  • Profess with confidence and skills as lifelong learners
  • Reducing assessment burden on academic staff

“Technology if used appropriately, can add value to any of the activities associated with assessment.”

What are the weaknesses in encouraging a technology enhanced learning and feedback? What are the disadvantages and challenges of doing this?

  • Digital Literacy/ability – staff and students – upskilling for staff and students
  • Robustness of the software/platform
  • Technical infrastructure of network systems and the support available and upgrading of technologies
  • Authenticity of the work and confidentiality issues…identity confirmation
  • Matching the right technology to the Assessment and Feedback
  • Restrictions e.g. firewalls
  • Accessibility e.g. logins, software/output
  • Is technology keeping up with psychology/social aspects of recruitment
  • Staff compliance…upskilling, not knowing how to use it, use to best ability
  • Keeping up to dates with the technology changes…technology fatigue
  • TIME…rehearsing, planning, implement/record…
  • Cost keeping…cost for change and cost of equipment…time, effort, monetary weigh up against pedagogic benefits
  • Institutional strategic driver – policies and procedures
  • Quality issues – test design and delivery
  • Sense of isolation with assessment moving online
  • Resistance to change

The session then took a turn to look at Plagiarism. We discussed how it often comes down to academic judgement, and it also includes an understanding of self-plagiarism and collusion, when a student works with at least one other person to produce a piece of work and passes it off as their own when joint work is not specified.

There are three stages to identifying academic misconduct:

  1. Informal – poor scholarly activity, naivety 1st assignment/level 4, dealt with locally by module leader
  2. Formal – module leader submits concerns to course leader, 45 days to make a decision, course leader considers the case, no case versus case to answer with the case officer to make the decision. Minor to moderate to major levels of concern.
  3. Review (if student is not satisfied with the outcome) – student can request a review. Can only do this if new evidence available

It was time to trial Turnitin, the text matching online tool – “plagiarism detection service” (integrated with Moodle, used through Assignment). I put a conference paper (part of a PhD chapter) through the programme, submitted it and watched what happened…

turnitin 4

turnitin 6turnitin 5

…at this point I COMPLETELY FREAKED OUT as the document I put through Turnitin came back saying 21% for plagiarism!!! This is a chapter of my PhD that was given as a conference paper earlier in the year…it better not be 21% plagiarised I thought…and how can it be as I wrote i?! I definitely didn’t use the words of others unless quoted. It was time to delve a little further to realise the percentage had come from the use of a title that was also used by someone else who attended and presented at the conference and from the bibliography. PHEW! Panic over…that would not have been a good day in the wordgirl PhD office.

7 Principles of Feedback Activity based on ‘Rethinking technology-supported assessment practices in relation to the seven principles of good feedback practice‘ by David Nicol and Colin Milligan.

  1. Help clarify what good performance is (goals, criteria, expected standards)
    Exemplar work that achieved good marks. Use Book with Pages in it…start log books. Take it further with a forum to see whether they agree with the marks that have been given.
  2. Facilitate reflection and self-assessment
    Feedback’s purpose is that students should start taking responsibility to their learning. Endless ideas for self-reflection and reflective tools. Possible self-assessment of their own work. What do you want the end tool to be? How do you mark how they are being reflective?
  3. Deliver high-quality feedback information that helps learners self-recorder
    You can talk about the accessibility and timing and feedback, but how you can ensure it is high quality. You have to define what you consider high quality. Is it about feedforward and feedback…accurate and contextual to what the student has submitted, and purposeful in that they can use it. Based on judgments. Could the tutor have a rubric that gives relevance and criteria. Feedback from peers and tutors. Open to many interpretations. Recognisable, understandable and do something with it…
  4. Encourage teacher-learner and peer dialogue
    Development of student self-regulation, and the feedback being understood by the student. Judgments about own learning outcomes and evaluative. Facilitated through MCQs, quizzes, real-time quizzes and real-time chat.
  5. Encourage positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem
    Self identification of learning and teaching…identifying how they feel. Use workshop to look at confidence, self-awareness, personal development. Allows you to focus on specific things.
  6. Provide opportunities to act on feedback
    Feedback to actually improve their work…opportunity for re-submissions. Feedforward and feedback. Use of quizzes and lesson.
  7. Use feedback from learners to improve teaching
    Class and individual reporting to get feedback for the teacher. Use of Survey and also Poll Everywhere, Textwall, Padlet and Survey Monkey.

From the session 4 discussion, it felt like there are specific moments in learning and teaching that require the use of technologies…it is more which technologies are appropriate to use, as there is a wealth out there. Learning more and more technologies every week…a sign of the times perhaps?  I think so…

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