Friday, March 27, 2009

CAL 2009: Paperless Assessment

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

Using tablet technologies in marking paperless assessment
Hilary A. Cunningham-Atkins, Wendy A. Fisher The Open University

Practised what she preached - first thing she did was pass round a tablet for people to sign in and give their email. :-)

Biggest part of lecturers' job is marking! Researcher's university moved to paperless assessment in 1999. Meant that lecturers were constrained in where they could mark - had to be at desktop PC. Previously they could mark papers with pen anywhere. Also, how do you annotate a diagram. Example was given of an essay with tutor annotation compared with pro-forma feedback on electronic assessment. By going paperless, there was an impact on the quality and quantity of feedback. Filling in a pro-forma removes the location of the comments from the assignment being commented.

Researcher wanted to see if tablet allowed paperless assessment but with at least some of the advantages of hand-written annotation. Used software that comes with the tablet to annotate document (.doc, .html, .pdf, ...). Tutors can write in document' existing white space, can highlight sections and (if necessary) can create extra whitespace. Annotations and document saved together as a pdf. Used in conjunction with pro-forma but gives richer feedback to students.

The technology now costs around £600. They tried using a £20 graphic tablet but, although you can do most of the same things it is significantly harder!

Students liked the personalised feel of the feedback. They felt the handwritten notes were much more personal. Tutors gave significantly better feedback - perhaps even better than written feedback.

Use of technology by lecturers is individual and dependent on their pedagogical views as much as their technological skills.

Extension project is looking at recording audio or video annotations and embedding in the document.. {Record facility in Word? - DM}

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