I have fairly limited experience of e-Assessments (and all of it from the learner perspective). So, here are my thoughts on the following questions….
- Why did/would you choose a particular type of e-assessment? Describe why you think it is effective and how it can help deepen knowledge and understanding.
- In your experience, what type of approach creates an environment conducive to self-directed learning, peer support and collaborative learning? How might technology help?
- What opportunities and challenges does this approach present to tutors?
The best types of e-Assessments are probably MCQs or quiz type assessments which provide learners with the correct answer after the response is typed in. These types of assessments provide the learners with explanations about the correct answers and enable learners to really learn.
The 2 types of e-Assessment approaches suited for self-directed learning are MCQs and/or quiz type assessments. I experienced both these types of assessments in an online course that I did over 6 months. The feedback mechanism in this course was excellent. There was the opportunity for staff to post feedback on the assessment as a whole. This was an overview of the whole assessment. But then staff could also feedback on individual questions (that made up the assessment) and questions that weren’t answered adequately could be marked for resubmission. The learner could then read the feedback and resubmit only “marked” questions for re-assessment.
I have also seen “Who wants to be a millionaire” style clickers used in a large lecture room setting where the lecturer shows the question on a OHP and the learners then choose the correct answer using their personal clicker. The percentage of answers (both correct and incorrect) is immediately displayed on screen and the lecturer provides the rationale for the correct answer where appropriate. This type of e-Assessment is suited for individual and collaborative learning as groups could use one clicker between them.
Technology can play a big part in making assessments/feedback mechanisms more efficient and more engaging to learners. To make assessments more fun, lecturers should consider using personal response clickers and other similar techniques as much as possible. I have first-hand experience of how interest and engagement in lecturers goes up when such technology is used. Using technology for feedback is also very crucial as it’s recorded and can be typed in directly without having to be written on paper first. Email/SMS can then be used to encourage learners to view feedback once the feedback becomes available online.
E-Assessments are a great opportunity for lecturers to provide quick and immediate feedback. They are especially useful in online courses where (as described above) the tutor can provide feedback on individual questions and on assessments as a whole. Tutors can also track whether the feedback has been viewed by the learner or not (as access to course materials on the course I took was tracked to ensure learners actually read the materials). The biggest challenges with using technology are the availability of technological solutions, adequate training for staff in the use of these technologies and the support mechanisms to maintain/further develop the technology once implemented.