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Keynote Abstracts

Integrating Assessment

Kevan MA Gartland, Garry D Main School of Molecular & Life Sciences, University of Abertay Dundee

Assessment can sometimes be viewed as an onerous task, both by students and academics alike. One approach to overcome this sense of foreboding is to integrate assessments directly within learning sessions. In this regard, contemporary information technology facilities can aid academics in assessing understanding and the application of knowledge gained. Furthermore they can be used to foster both a sense of achievement, healthy inquisitiveness and a desire for further insights in students.

To illustrate this, the range of tools available for the integration of assessment in computer aided learning will be surveyed, and sample applications from the life sciences discussed.

Multimedia as a Tool for Learning

Jean Colson Digital Libraries Research Centre, University of Southampton

Multimedia is of course the stuff of history, nothing new here, simply a way of representing ideas. New software allows for varied interpretations of the same material to be represented in one plane, a screen. Different students have divergent interpretations, our problem as historians lies in discovering the ways in which they think. Well formed hypermedia allows teachers to evaluate the structure of their argument, and the ways in which they research and develop it.

The Southampton experience began in 1992, and has continued to date. Evidence so far indicates that student profiles are saw-toothed rather than bell-shaped. Certain students perform exceptionally well. The presentation will work from the WWW page written for the course in progress.

A Strategy for Mass Implementation of Computer-based Assessment: The Agony and the Ecstasy

Stan Zakrzewski Unit for Learning Technology, Research & Assessment, University of Luton

An interactive computer-based assessment system at the University of Luton centred on 'Question Designer' for Windows and originally piloted in 1993 continues to expand. In the academic year 1996/7 approximately 9,000 students sat summative and 1,000 formative examinations. Mass implementation of such a system involves both evolution and maintenance in which the staff and students work together to achieve its aims and objectives.

This presentation paper examines the development of the system from inception to its current level of activity. Student perceptions, policy implications, logistical, pedagogic and staff development issues are drawn out. A framework for the effective implementation of computer-based assessment is put forward utilising a step-wise structured approach that manages, assesses, eradicates or minimises risk. Nevertheless things can go wrong and the implications when this happens are discussed.

Rethinking Assessment for the Online Course

Robin Mason Institute for Educational Technology, Open University, Milton Keynes

Examinations and other forms of assessment which test the student's memory and ability to rephrase the course material, have been much decried, but frequently used in actual practice. Nowhere are they more inappropriate than on courses having a large electronic component. With the ease of cutting and pasting, the access to electronic resources and the lack of face-to-face meeting on some courses, how do we re-think the nature and value of assessment ?

In this presentation I will discuss a number of applications of new kinds of assessment which aim to test the skills of team working, managing large amounts of information, and peer commenting and assessing. I will conclude with some results from evaluations of these applications.

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Last modified: 30 November 1999 (formatting).
Orignal text: January 1998.