Changes to the Print to Mark service

In 2015, working with the Print Shop, the Assessment Journey Programme launched a Print to Mark service to support academic staff making the transition to online management of assessment by providing printed assignments for marking purposes, prior to electronic feedback being provided online.

This service will continue to be made available after the Assessment Journey Programme ends, however, there will be some changes for 2017/18 following the implementation of new software by the Print Shop.

If you have used the service, please note the following changes:

– There will be a different online request form but the same information will be required, just in a different format

– You will be able to specify a more convenient delivery point rather than just your local Helpdesk however due to availability; the helpdesk may still be the most convenient delivery point

– Zip files will no longer be able to be attached so files downloaded from Blackboard will need to be extracted and then attached (but multiple selection of files is supported)

Please also read the new guidance that is available for full instructions on using this service.

If you have any technical queries or general questions, please contact the Print Shop.

Refined business contingency process now in place to support assessment

Over the past few months, the Assessment Journey Programme team has been working with a number of key stakeholders across the University to define and test a business contingency process that will be implemented in the event of system downtime.

The agreed process will ensure that there is a consistent approach should Blackboard be unavailable for the submission of student work or the marking or provision of feedback by academic staff.

Details on the agreed process can be found in Assessment Essentials.

Frequently asked questions:

  1. What will happen if a submission point is unavailable at the time of submission?
    A. An extension from the time the system is restored is to be provided to all affected students. Digital Technology Services will place a standard message on Blackboard and Faculty Student Services teams will contact students with further details. Module Leaders do not need to take any action.
  2. What will happen if Blackboard is unavailable at the time of, or becomes unavailable during, a Blackboard test?
    A. The Module Leader should liaise with the affected student(s) to arrange an alternative date and update Blackboard accordingly.
  3. What will happen if system unavailability prevents access to work for marking?
    A. An extended period of time equivalent to the duration of system unavailability (up to 48 hours) will be allowed to complete the marking and provide feedback to students. Module Leaders should advise students by email if there is to be a delay in providing feedback due to system unavailability; either at the time of marking or the time of releasing feedback. If staff can still meet the original turnaround times this is encouraged.

Solution to support the upload of media files is now available

A new solution has been integrated with Blackboard which will allow students and staff to upload media files (currently up to 2GB in size), such as video assignments and video or audio feedback, safe in the knowledge that the files are stored securely.

Other benefits include:

  • files are uploaded to a central publishing point and delivered back as streamlining media
  • content is automated transcoded to work across all devices from with Blackboard
  • submitted work is accessed via the Grade Centre, enabling staff to view or listen to student video or audio assignments and provide feedback without leaving Blackboard

This will mean a change to the process for staff and students when submitting media files, so guidance including screencasts is now available in the Submitting Work Online section of Assessment Essentials. Students can access video guidance in the Submitting Work Online section of Assessment4Students.

Your local Faculty TEL Team have been trained on this solution and are on hand to support colleagues.

Please let us know what you think – email your feedback to ! Assessment Journey Programme

Refreshed guidance for mark transfer now available for Module Leaders

Refreshed guidance for mark transfer now available for Module Leaders

Work has progressed looking at the processes of mark transfer to identify any improvements that could be made. This was required in order to reduce the impact of not pursuing a technical solution to transferring marks between Blackboard and SITS – the Assessment Journey Programme Change Team, and subsequently the University Projects Board, agreed that the development carried too much risk to progress at this point in time.

This work has culminated in refreshed guidance being created to enable Module Leaders to download, format and send task marks from Blackboard Grade Centre to Student Administration in a consistent and efficient way. This work was developed with input from academic and professional service staff, and draws upon academic best practice and board secretary requirements.

Adopting a more consistent, streamlined process across the University will bring a number of benefits for both academic and professional services colleagues.

What are the benefits?

  • Marks are supplied in a consistent way from the Grade Centre which will reduce the  need for dialogue with Student Administration around data queries
  • Student Administration will be able to process marks quickly and release timely reports
  • Marks supplied to boards through the use of one data source (Grade Centre)
  • Greater clarity around what information is required when sending marks through  to Student Administration, what to do in the event of missing marks and how rounding of marks is managed

Do I need to do anything?

This is a consolidation of existing guidance as well as the introduction of newly developed guidance, so some elements may be new, but not others. We ask all Module Leaders to take time to read and use the guidance at the next opportunity when submitting marks to Student Administration. We would welcome feedback from Module Leaders as this is rolled out and used for the first time. This can be sent by email to ! Assessment Journey Programme.

How do I get further information?

Representatives from Student Administration and the Assessment Journey Programme will be attending departmental management group meetings in the coming weeks to discuss the rationale and respond to any initial queries about the processes and refreshed guidance. In addition, queries or feedback about the guidance can also be sent by email to ! Assessment Journey Programme

iPad loan service now available

The University recently announced changes to its Equipment Policy to facilitate mobile and flexible working, and support the move to online management of assessment in the University.

In addition to the roll out of laptops (as required), it was agreed that a central loan service would be developed to provide academic staff with temporary access to mobile equipment during assessment periods.

We are pleased to confirm that an iPad loan service is now available to all academic teaching staff.

Please note the following guidance for accessing this service:

  • Requests can be submitted to Digital Technology Services (DTS) by using the iPad loan request form
  • The loan equipment is provided specifically to support the delivery of online management of assessment
  • The loan period will align with the period of marking and feedback within each semester – a maximum period of 16 weeks within a semester, after which the equipment will need to be returned to DTS
  • Please allow a minimum of 5 working days for processing (between submitting a request and collection)
  • Once a request has been approved by DTS, a confirmation email will be sent including a date and location for collection

New Marks and Feedback Tool to enable the bulk upload of feedback files and marks to Blackboard

New Marks and Feedback Tool to enable the bulk upload of feedback files and marks to Blackboard

We are delighted to announce the launch of a tool to help staff manage assessment online. The tool enables the bulk download of student work and the upload of feedback file attachments and marks generated electronically outside of Blackboard into Grade Centre for an assignment submitted online.

The following instructions provide guidance on the 6-stage process:
Stage 1 – downloading
Stage 2 – unzipping files
Stage 3 – creating feedback
Stage 4 – zipping files
Stage 5 – uploading feedback
Stage 6 – accessing Grade Centre to check that the upload has worked correctly

The instructions also include considerations associated with its use and screencasts for a visual how-to guide.

In case of queries, please contact your local TEL Team for assistance.

Support for the management of bunching of assessment tasks

At the start of the Assessment Journey Programme we consulted staff about their reporting requirements in relation to assessment and feedback, and we are currently developing a suite of reports to meet these needs.

We are pleased to announce the release of a Task Clustering by Course report to support the management of bunching of assessment tasks. The report draws on data from Assessment Scheduler and is designed to allow course teams to check submission dates for all modules on a course and where relevant, consider the impact on other courses of a change to an assessment date.

Guidance on how to use the report is available in Assessment Essentials.

We’d value your feedback – please contact us at ! Assessment Journey Programme

We’re into the final year of the programme – what has been delivered to date?

As we enter the final year of the programme, it feels an appropriate time to reflect on progress, so here is a round-up of what has been delivered to date:

Informing, preparing and supporting staff:

  • Development, launch and continued promotion of an online resource, Assessment Essentials, to assist staff with the effective design and delivery of assessment for their students
  • Creation of a series of detailed academic case studies to highlight the use of different assessment practices and technologies and share best practice
  • Enhancement of existing Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) guidance and the creation of over 80 new multi-media resources relating to assessment and feedback
  • Identification of staff equipment requirements and changes to the University’s Equipment Policy agreed and published. Implementation processes defined and communicated to all academic staff
  • Design and delivery of a training programme in conjunction with Faculty TEL Teams, encompassing group sessions, drop-ins and bespoke 1-2-1s
  • Development and delivery of a health and safety action plan
  • University-wide staff engagement and communications to inform, prepare and support staff – range of digital communications, university / faculty events, standing meeting updates, working groups and workshops
  • Training and support for all helpdesk teams

Informing, preparing and supporting students:

  • Development and launch of an online resource, Assessment4students, to provide students with guidance and support around assessment
  • Design and delivery of a student communication strategy at the start of 2016/17 to inform students of the change, clarify expectations and provide support through guidance, resources and helpdesks

Governance & process:

  • Definition and implementation of the new Policy for Summative Assessment for 2016/17
  • Definition and communication of the operating models for the management of submission and associated processes in conjunction with faculties
  • Development and communication of a business continuity model in the event of system failure
  • Process improvement work considering seven academic and administrative processes

Technical development:

  • Identification of the detailed technical requirements of the business and engagement with suppliers on development, costs and timeframes
  • Deployment of:
    – a quick enrol functionality to support administrative staff with access to Blackboard module sites
    – an online receipting capability for students submitting  coursework electronically to Blackboard
    – a new tool to enable the bulk upload of feedback file attachments and marks generated electronically outside of Blackboard into Grade Centre for assignments submitted online
  • Development and introduction of a print to mark capability to allow for marking of physical copies of electronically submitted assignments, prior to staff providing electronic feedback online
  • Analysis and initial development work around moving data from Assessment Scheduler to SITS
  • Analysis and options development for  the integration of Blackboard and SITS
  • Pilots and evaluation of the Safe Assign originality checking tool
  • Development and deployment of a new task clustering (bunching) report

We would like to thank everyone involved for their support and valuable contribution.

Department of Natural Built Environment’s Assessment Journey Away Day

On 14 September, the Department of Natural Built Environment held an away day with staff to focus on the task of implementing online management of assessment this academic year.

 

 

 

 

 


Luke Desforges, Head of LTA for D&S, and Jon Childs from the Assessment Journey Programme (AJP) Team presented an overview of the Policy for Summative Assessment, outlined the changes to processes and staff practice, showcased the resources available and answered questions from staff around the changes.

This was followed by two practical workshops on online submission and the provision of online feedback, before subject groups met to agree a consistent approach to online feedback. Printed resources were available for staff to take away and feedback is being used to define the support offered by the Faculty TEL Team.

Ann Franks, Head of Academic Development for the Department, said: “This was a great way to start the new academic year. Colleagues had the opportunity to learn about the changes and solutions available, and share their experiences. I would recommend this approach to other departments within the University.”

Mike Nelson, Senior Lecturer, said: “I feel much more confident about adopting online feedback after the session.”

Liane Duxbury, Senior Lecturer, said: “It was a very useful and positive experience. I felt it brought the staff team together in terms of discussing and agreeing the delivery of a much needed ‘standardised’ approach to marking and feedback.”

Need help organising something similar in your area? Please contact ! Assessment Journey Programme

 

Practice-based assessment case studies from across the sector

cover_issue_46_en_USWe would like to bring to your attention the new Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal. This international peer-reviewed journal supports the work of RAISE (Researching, Advancing and Inspiring Student Engagement).  The first edition contains a special section on assessment and student engagement, including a collection of practice-based case studies from across the sector. These include articles on an extension to TESTA (Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment) methodology, innovative assessment practices, e-portfolios, problem-based learning and audio feedback, which we feel may be of interest.

To access these articles and more, see the first edition’s table of contents