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Effectiveness AND efficiency in A&F: Effectiveness AND efficiency: can technology really deliver both in assessment and feedback? -- 79 -- Symposium

10:50 - 11:50 on Wednesday, 12 September 2012 in Main Theatre

Technology-enhanced solutions are coming under increasing scrutiny as institutions aim to achieve high-quality assessment and feedback practice in more cost-effective ways. Exploring the costs and benefits of applying technology-supported approaches across whole institutions and programmes has been the focus of some recently completed projects in the Evidence and Evaluation strand of the JISC Assessment and Feedback Programme, the outcomes of which are helping to throw light on the reality behind the myths.

This symposium will encourage participants to question their assumptions about technology-supported assessment and feedback and develop greater understanding of the issues and benefits that can be expected when an initiative is implemented at scale. Talking points include:

  • What are the efficiencies and enhancements that we can realistically expect from changes to assessment practices that are supported by technology?
  • Is it possible to improve the effectiveness of assessment and feedback in large-group contexts and, at the same time, balance practitioner time and workload?
  • Do technology-based approaches enhance or diminish the effectiveness and efficiency of student learning? What is the evidence?
  • Are there hidden costs (eg staff /student training and learner support) that going mainstream with a new technology-based approach will incur? How can these costs be minimised?

The session aims to encourage debate around divergent views rather than confirm the value of technology in assessment and feedback. Project teams have undertaken separate investigations and will have arrived at different conclusions that support or qualify established beliefs. A variety of technologies will be discussed from electronic voting systems and email to e-portfolios, blogs and an online feedback system.

Structure of session and activities

a) Introduction to the session (5 mins)

b) Chairperson invites panel members to briefly state their position on the first of the four questions in the light of their findings to date (5 mins)

c) Panel members select one of the remaining three debating points to discuss in detail how they arrived at that position (7 mins x 4 speakers)

d) Chairperson opens up the session to questions and views from participants (20 mins)

e) Voting (2 mins)

The session will be chaired to enable audience members to bring forward their own views, ask questions of panel members and vote on the overarching question: Effectiveness AND efficiency – can technology really deliver both?

Participants will have the opportunity to widen their understanding of the value and risks associated with large-scale technology-supported assessment and feedback practices as a result of engaging with the outcomes of newly completed investigations. Discussions can be continued online on the Design Studio, an online toolkit which draws together outcomes and outputs from recent and current project work for sharing with the wider community.