Assessment and quality assurance

Are online exams better for student mental health?

Submitted by dene.mullen on Wed, 16/06/2021 - 00:01
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Article

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.

Standfirst
Traditional exams under tightly invigilated conditions are highly stressful for students, but online alternatives bring their own issues, says Michael Priestley
Teaser
Traditional exams under tightly invigilated conditions are highly stressful for students, but online alternatives bring their own issues, says Michael Priestley

Professors, stop pretending that you never cheat

Submitted by dene.mullen on Fri, 11/06/2021 - 00:01
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Article

I recently read Cheating Lessons by James Lang, and this article is a by-product − that is to say, not plagiarism − of that book.

Standfirst
Academics should drop the holier-than-thou attitude and look at cheating from a student’s perspective if we want to understand and eradicate it, says Hamish Binns
Teaser
Academics should drop the holier-than-thou attitude and look at cheating from a student’s perspective if we want to understand and eradicate it, says Hamish Binns

We ignore the administrative load caused by cheating at our peril

Submitted by dene.mullen on Wed, 12/05/2021 - 01:01
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Article

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.

Standfirst
The switch online has brought renewed scrutiny of misconduct, but without adequate resources, the real losers are our students, says Amanda White
Teaser
The switch online has brought renewed scrutiny of misconduct, but without adequate resources, the real losers are our students, says Amanda White

Forget everything you think you know about online engagement

Submitted by dene.mullen on Tue, 04/05/2021 - 01:01
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Article

During the seismic shift to online and blended formats that we’ve all attended to, much of the focus has been on technological capabilities and solutions. Within this, even finer focus has been placed on online behaviours as a way of understanding student engagement.

However, lessons from cyberpsychology may be central here. To explain a little, cyberpsychology focuses on the psychological experiences of our interactions with new technology and the internet and seems to be entirely relevant to many discussions about online learning.

Standfirst
There’s much interest in how many times students access the VLE or complete online tasks, but that only provides part of the picture, says Linda Kaye
Teaser
There’s much interest in how many times students access the VLE or complete online tasks, but that only provides part of the picture, says Linda Kaye

AI has been trumpeted as our saviour, but it’s complicated

Submitted by dene.mullen on Fri, 23/04/2021 - 01:01
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Article

Artificial intelligence is full of potential and has been trumpeted as our saviour, the way forward, the answer to all the world’s ills and the future of learning. But this is not the true picture. Yes, AI has much to offer in education, but it’s not the be all and end all.

Standfirst
Time saved by lecturers on marking assignments could indeed be used to enrich teaching, but unfortunately many silver linings have a cloud, says Harin Sellahewa
Teaser
Time saved by lecturers on marking assignments could indeed be used to enrich teaching, but unfortunately many silver linings have a cloud, says Harin Sellahewa

Greener assessment: transitioning to online marking

Submitted by miranda.prynne on Fri, 16/04/2021 - 13:45
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Article

People are rightly concerned about plastic waste, but many might be equally shocked by the amount of paper in municipal waste – what consumers throw in the trash. In fact, in the US, it is the largest source of rubbish, with printing second only to packing as the largest generator of waste paper, research has shown.

Standfirst
Universities should lead by example on sustainability issues, looking at what they can do to shrink their environmental impact. Here, Ling Xia and Yao Wu outline a project that could herald a major reduction in their institution’s paper consumption
Teaser
Universities should lead by example on sustainability issues, looking at what they can do to shrink their environmental impact. Here, Ling Xia and Yao Wu outline a project that could herald a major reduction in their institution’s paper consumption

Anonymous polling platforms to boost student confidence, engagement and inclusivity

Submitted by miranda.prynne on Wed, 07/04/2021 - 10:00
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Article

Students are often reticent to ask or answer questions in a large group during face-to-face sessions and the digital world is no different. The all-engulfing silence following a request for contributions translates into a sea of students’ initials in the Microsoft Teams world.

I’d given the option of using the chat function, so why were my students not responsive? Was I, in fact, speaking to myself?

Standfirst
Students are often reticent to speak up in front of large groups online but when offered anonymous ways to share thoughts and feedback, most are keen to participate. Christina Stanley explains how to put this to good use
Teaser
Students are often reticent to speak up in front of large groups online, but when offered anonymous ways to share thoughts and feedback, most are keen to participate. Christina Stanley explains how to put this to good use

Grades are dehumanising, but ‘ungrading’ is no simple solution

Submitted by dene.mullen on Tue, 06/04/2021 - 01:01
Article type
Article

There is copious evidence that grades are not a good measure of learning, that they inhibit intrinsic motivation and that they create a competitive environment for students, and hostile relationships between students and teachers. We can’t entirely remove grades just yet, because they are hard coded into so many of our educational systems, but teachers can (and should) raise our collective eyebrows at grades. And we should do this work together with students.

Standfirst
There is nothing ideologically neutral about grades, and nothing ideologically neutral about the idea we can neatly and tidily do away with them, says Jesse Stommel
Teaser
There is nothing ideologically neutral about grades, and nothing ideologically neutral about the idea we can neatly and tidily do away with them, says Jesse Stommel

Rethinking assessment in line with the changing world of work

Submitted by miranda.prynne on Thu, 25/03/2021 - 09:00
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Article

Academics have had to shift to online delivery of our teaching, but students have also had to make a sudden change. Usually, they would be in a class delivering their end-of-module presentations, but this year that was not possible. The case discusses how a retail (or any other subject) presentation can be transformed into a digital authentic assessment that students loved to work on but also was helpfully resilient when the pandemic struck.

Why do this?

Standfirst
Sarah Montano offers insight on redesigning assessment in the digital space to test the skills students will need in their future careers
Teaser
Sarah Montano offers insight on redesigning assessment in the digital space to test the skills students will need in their future careers

A multi-pronged approach to deterring contract cheating in online assessment

Submitted by miranda.prynne on Thu, 25/03/2021 - 08:00
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Article

There has been a great deal written on how to “design out” plagiarism and contract cheating, such as essay mills and ghostwriting. Although generally very good advice, assessment design is just part of the answer. The supply of essay mills is booming in response to the huge demand for their services from students. We must respond with a range of actions.

Standfirst
The essay mills industry is booming in response to student demand. Irene Glendinning explains how universities must respond with a range of actions, not one quick fix
Teaser
The essay mills industry is booming in response to student demand. Irene Glendinning explains how universities must respond with a range of actions, not one quick fix