The June edition of the Bulletin was the last in the series. For the 2016/17 academic year, our news and updates will be published here and in faculty publications.
As we near the end of this academic year, we are reflecting on recent progress within the Assessment Journey Programme (AJP) and are busy planning for the changes due in academic year 2016/17.
The Policy for Summative Assessment was approved by Academic Board and will be implemented from the start of the academic year 2016/17, when coursework will be submitted online where possible, and online feedback will be provided to levels 3, 4 and 7. Please remember that a range of support is available to staff during this transition including an operational guide which provides detailed guidance on how to implement the Policy, online resources and staff training. Further details about the changes and the support available to staff can be found on the AJP blog and in Assessment Essentials.
Finally, the development of the plans for next year are well underway. This phase of work will focus on process improvement activity, ongoing technical developments such as the design of an ‘assessment portal’, management information reporting, further enhancements to batch upload and large file submission and the continued roll-out of online management of assessment to all remaining levels . Options are still being considered around solutions to single mark entry.
To update and provide an opportunity for questions and answers about the programme, we’ll be attending academic department management meetings in June and July, and the AJP Team will be at the forthcoming staff conferences in June (details below).
Joe Rennie, Deputy Registrar and Joint Business Lead for the Assessment Journey Programme Neil McKay, Dean of Students and Joint Business Lead for the Assessment Journey Programme
Learning and Teaching conferences – drop-in surgeries
Do you have a burning question about online submission and feedback? The AJP Team will be on hand at the Learning and Teaching Conference on 23 and 24 June offering a drop-in surgery to answer your queries and provide support. During the two days, there will be opportunities to learn about online tools and techniques used to create feedback (Crocodoc, Blackboard Rubrics, screencasting and voice recognition), and support will be available for those wishing to get a head start in preparing Blackboard sites in readiness for September.
The AJP Team will also be attending the Health and Wellbeing LTA Conference on the 16 June. Visit our drop-in surgery with any questions you may have about the transition to online management of assessment.
System integration and process enhancement
Over the past year, activity to deliver a technical solution to single mark entry through the integration of Blackboard and SITS has been undertaken. However, a number of issues have been identified in product testing which affect the ability to achieve this for 2016/17. As a result, a decision was taken by the University Projects Board not to implement a solution for single mark entry within the original timescales, on the basis that it would not provide a satisfactory solution or experience for staff.
Following the approval to defer the development of Blackboard and SITS integration, it was agreed that we would consider what improvements could be made with respect to mark entry in order to mitigate the impact of not delivering a technical solution in September 2016.
We have been working closely with student admin teams and academics to document processes such as uploading marks and feedback to Grade Centre and the management of marks ahead of a Board. For each process a number of potential improvements were presented for the teams to assess and prioritise.
A series of workshops will now look at these process improvements and consider how they could complement plans for system development. Those improvements that will have the biggest positive impact for staff will be implemented over the summer and throughout phase 3 of the Programme. Options around a technical solution for academic year 17/18 are under review, with further clarity due in July.
Technology-enhanced assessment – how is the sector doing?
In the following article, Jisc explores how higher and further education institutions are transitioning to technology-enhanced assessment, and what activity is taking place to overcome the barriers. Read the full article.
Training and support
New resources – Interactive Assessment Resource and Assessment Checklist
We’ve developed an interactive infographic designed to guide you through the assessment lifecycle. Displayed as a continuous loop of activity, the document highlights key tasks and signposts to relevant online assessment guidance, resources, technical how-to guides and case studies found within Assessment Essentials. View the resource online.
To help you prepare for September, we’ve also created a checklist to ensure you’ve taken the necessary steps for assessment design, setting up online assessment and Grade Centre in Blackboard, and communicating essential guidance to students. View the checklist online.
Each faculty has developed its own programme of training for staff making the transition to online management of assessment.
Throughout June and July, the Business School’s TEL Team is offering a range of training sessions for online marking and feedback. View all SBS training sessions.
Health and Wellbeing (HWB) has also published a HWB training menu for the summer and for the academic year 2016/17.
In the Faculty of Development and Society, module leaders will be contacted on a 1:1 basis to discuss the transition to online management of assessment and their training needs.
The Faculty of Arts, Computing, Engineering and Sciences is offering 1-2-1 support by request. The next training session on Marking Technologies will be delivered on 21 June. Contact Katherine Davies for more detail.
To find out more about the training offer in your area, contact your local TEL team.
AJP Away Days – a different approach to engagement
In the run up to September, faculties are preparing for the transition to online management of assessment for levels 3, 4 and 7. Activity has been broad and varied; bespoke training sessions have been delivered by the TEL Teams with support from graduate interns and a suite of video guides have been developed for self-directed learning. Alongside these offers, departments are choosing to engage staff in other ways.
A recent idea was put forward by Ann Franks, Head of Academic Development for the Department of Natural and Built Environment, who has chosen to host an AJP Away Day with the intention of bringing everyone together to discuss preparations for the transition. The day will cover a range of subjects together with an introduction from the AJP Team on the rationale and timescales of the programme. Staff will also benefit from sharing best practice and will hear from academics who are already submitting and marking online. The session will be supported by the TEL Team who will be answering questions throughout the day. Ann Franks said, “We simply wanted to give staff the opportunity to prepare for the changes together. We’ve had excellent support from TEL and will continue to engage with their offer of support and training – this is just another way of ensuring everyone is ready for September”.