Tara’s family never had much money, but her mother instilled in her a love of learning from a young age. Tara’s mum had grown up with dyslexia and little support. She wanted better for her bookworm daughter and stressed the importance of going to college. As a young adult, Tara worked full time in order to take affordable college courses online. But she struggled to balance work and family demands with the demands of college.
Assessment and quality assurance
The art of writing, invented roughly 5,000 years ago, represents a blip in human history. It’s younger than agriculture, music and construction. And as recently as the US War of Independence in the late 1700s, most Americans couldn’t put pen to paper. In short: writing remains a new feat of technology. We’re still figuring it out.
Much of the HE conversation lately has felt like a never-ending spin cycle of the sector’s new favourite words: “blended”, “hybrid”, “synchronous”, “asynchronous”. These are usually discussed in relation to the tutor’s role in the teaching set-up, and it’s been striking to see so little explicit discussion of self-directed learning – which arguably makes up the largest proportion of a student’s learning experience.
So why has the sector largely failed to account for what is usually about 80 per cent of students’ study time?
If you’d like to grade exams for a major testing corporation, it takes a lot of work. Prospective graders for the Educational Testing Service, for example, undergo system and content training, and at least one content certification test.
A vibrant student-centred learning experience with a range of classroom and online interactive experiences is an achievable objective. Transforming the joy of exchanging ideas with lecturers and peers into equally enthusiastic assessment outcomes is a bigger challenge. It’s a shame if the results of these dynamic activities and all that accumulated know-how stay hidden in the lecturer’s marking inbox, reduced to a grade on a spreadsheet.
Successful remote learning, like all learning, requires regular reviewing of learning materials and completion of homework. However, some students may lack the self-discipline to undertake this work, especially when these learning tasks do not contribute towards their overall course grade.
It is challenging for instructors to ensure all students are engaging with the course materials and completing set work when teaching very large cohorts online.
It’s no secret that student mental health is a growing concern. Covid has compounded many of the social, academic and financial inequalities and challenges to mental health across the higher education sector in the UK and beyond. The result has been more students needing mental health support than before the pandemic and compared to other demographics.
I recently read Cheating Lessons by James Lang, and this article is a by-product − that is to say, not plagiarism − of that book.
The academic integrity space has seen much activity during the pandemic. It has attracted the attention of scholars of everything from digital critical pedagogy and student equity to student mental health, as well as the mainstream media. But amid the feeding frenzy, what there hasn’t been is anywhere near enough mention of the administrative support required when cases of misconduct are reported by educators.