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

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 

 

New assessment resource for students

We are pleased to announce that a new resource ‘Assessment4Students’ is now available to provide students with guidance and support around assessment.

Over the last year, we’ve been consulting Hallam students through a series of workshops to ascertain student needs and requirements to improve understanding of the assessment process, and design preferences.

Students can now access the following content throughout the academic year:
– frequently asked questions about assessment
– how to develop their academic skills
– guidance on submitting work and sitting exams
– how to access marks and use feedback effectively
– how to provide feedback about your course
– University assessment regulations
– and much more

The resource will be widely promoted to students at the start of the academic year through direct email, Course Leader inductions, Blackboard, shuspace, helpdesk material, TV screens, desktop screensavers and social media.

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

Students at the heart of the Assessment Journey Programme

September is upon us and we look forward to welcoming our new and returning students and starting to implement the new Policy for Summative Assessment to improve their assessment experience.

Student Benefits
Here’s a reminder of how students will benefit from the move to online management of assessment:

  • One clear process across all modules for submitting and receiving feedback on assessments
  • A better understanding and confidence in the assessment process through clearer assessment guidance
  • Reduction in printing costs and convenience of not having to travel or queue to hand in physical assignments (where coursework is suitable for online submission)
  • The ability to review own performance to inform personal and professional development through accessing marks and feedback in one location (My Grades in Blackboard)
  • Increased confidence through automatic proof of receipt for online submissions
  • Confidence of knowing work is stored electronically, securely and backed up
  • Improved clarity and understanding of feedback

Student Communications

All students will receive an email via SITS during the week commencing 19 September and should also be invited to an induction session run by their Course Leader (to include content on assessment). These communications aim to make students aware of the changes to student assessment from September 2016, and advise them on how the change will affect them and what support is available during the academic year.

A new online resource ‘Assessment4Students’ is now available to provide students with guidance and support around assessment. This will be widely promoted at the start of the academic year via the above communications, as well as a number of other channels – Blackboard, shuspace, helpdesk material, plasma screens, desktop screensavers and social media.

New Course Induction Material

In order to prepare students and provide appropriate support we have put together a few slides for Course Leaders to use in their course induction sessions.

Slide 1 – introducing students to the changes relating to online submission and feedback

Slide 2 – the Assessment4Students resource

Slide 3 – where links to the resource will be on shuspace

Slide 4 – an information leaflet available via Faculty Helpdesks

Changes to equipment provision to support online management of assessment

The findings from our recent consultation have informed the development of a new University-wide equipment strategy to meet academic staff needs in a sustainable way, supporting the implementation of the new Policy for Summative Assessment and the work of the Assessment Journey Programme.

What you told us:

  • Academic staff place a high value on the ability to work flexibly when managing assessments and technologies that allow mobility and facilitate flexible working practices would be extremely beneficial.
  • Some academic staff are concerned about the use of display equipment for longer periods of time as they move to managing assessment online.

How are we responding?
The University is changing its Equipment Policy to facilitate mobile and flexible working and to enable staff to adopt more efficient and effective online marking and feedback methods. The following principles have now been agreed for all teaching staff on full academic contracts:

  • There will be a choice of either a desktop PC and monitor or laptop without the need for a business case
  • Laptop users will be provided with a docking station, keyboard, mouse and screen to comply with Display Screen Equipment (DSE) needs and enable use of two screens as required
  • Desktop users will be able to request a second or larger screen

In addition to this, a second strand of work will commence shortly to develop a loan service for mobile devices including iPads and other tablets.

What are the timescales for the changes?
Staff needs will start to be fulfilled at the start of academic year 2016/17 and the roll-out is expected to be complete by May 2018. Further details about sequencing and prioritisation will be made available in advance of September. Timescales for the roll-out of a loan service for mobile devices is still to be confirmed and again, further information will be published in due course.

What other support is available?
Please remember that other support is currently in place, including:

Print to Mark –  this service offered by the Print Shop will continue to be available to support staff making the transition to online management of assessment. Please read the guidance on how to use this service for full instructions.

DSE Assessments – these should be completed so that any mitigating actions can be put in place. Read about the University’s DSE Policy and training here.

How will this be financed?
Laptop and screen requests will be paid for in the IS&T budget over the next two years. The loan service for mobile devices will be made up of existing stock within the University.

How do I access further information?
If you have a question about this, please contact the Assessment Journey Programme Team in the first instance ! Assessment Journey Programme.