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Feedback and Assessment is a very relevant module for me now, as we are currently working on preparing for the remote exams that are now required because of the coronavirus pandemic. I am very thankful to have this module available!

These are the learning objectives:

Module 4 Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this module, I will:

  • Understand the key concepts of online feedback and assessment.
  • Evaluate and redefine our own feedback and assessment practices for application online.
  • Reflect on the impact of feedback and feedback on subsequent assessment design and student performance.

Feedback and assessment are key to the development of engaged learning communities and engaged online teaching practices. We need to learn how best to construct them.

The UK Professional Standards Framework emphasises feedback and assessment and its impact on student learning and recognises that good feedback and assessment practices will vary from field to field. That diversity is a strength.

The University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy calls for “developing assessment and feedback that delivers constructive and supportive dialogue between students and staff.” This would reduce the transactional distance between students and staff.

The Manifesto for Teaching Online tells us,

  • “Assessment is an act of interpretation, not just measurement.”
  • “Text has been troubled: many modes matter in representing academic knowledge.”, and
  • “A digital assignment can live on. It can be iterative, public, risky, and multi-voiced.”

So, we need to consider how public facing our assessments should be, and how long for, and whether it makes sense to include non textual feedback and assessments, considering the academic discipline and future professional practices of the students. If we are using creative assessments, we will need creative ways to interpret them.

Finally, there is a lot of discussion of assessment in the Near Future Teaching Project. Here are some of the suggestions discussed there:

  • Launch a cross-university, discipline-sensitive programme of work to increase diversity in forms of assessment, including multimodal (video, audio, image, making) and experiential forms (projects, blogs, reflections, reports).
  • Build a culture – supported by technology as appropriate – in which students have greater choice over the form of their assessments.
  • Enable risk-taking by, for example, giving students greater choice over which assignments count toward final marks.
  • Focus academic development and course design around building exceptional learning experiences, rather than on assessment and performance.
  • Promote a culture shift away from exams where possible.
  • Use appropriate technology, including AI-supported methods, to enable peer assessment, self-assessment and timely formative feedback.
  • Create a platform to open up students’ access to each other’s assessed work after submission for peer learning and feedback.

I think these are some very interesting ideas. We have recently been working on the last suggestion (reviewing each other’s assessed work for peer learning) in GeoSciences by creating a repository of anonymised dissertations from previous years’ students for current students to learn from as examples.

The first suggestion, increasing diversity in multimodal and experiential forms of assessment, sounds like it could provide lots of interesting and varied work for me in e-Learning Systems Development!

The second and third suggestions, giving the students more choices over this, might also need more work to keep track and adapt to those choices.

I do think these suggestions offer the students more chances to succeed, which has to be a good thing, as long as they are learning what they need to.

And finally, I had to react to this statement:

“We are at a moment of change in higher education”…

Yes, we certainly are, though not the moment of change we expected, and the best of luck to us all..!

Here are some links to discussions of feedback and assessment in the University’s Teaching Matters blog, and more:


(Public domain image by Mohamed Hassan from PxHere)