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2015  Topic 1: What makes a good choice of assignment task? 
Can you think of an assignment task that you particularly enjoyed completing during your studies? What kinds of assignment tasks do you most enjoy marking? Which tasks enable your students to best demonstrate their progress? Which tasks help students to develop transferable skills? Do you always have enough time to complete the marking properly?

Welcome to new community members. I can't decide whether to leave all of the old posts in place - I wanted to delete them because I thoght they may be confusing, but there are some interesting comments from last year in there. What do you think? 

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You may be interested in the discussion going on at JISC (a UK body which provides advice on a range of Information Technology issues for post-compulsory education) about how to move forward with electronic management of assessment. Feel free to make comments on any of the blog posts mentioned here. 

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Topic 6 Task: Think of an assignment you’ve recently completed yourself, or have recently been involved in marking. Evaluate the performance of the assignment task.

You might want to think about:

  How well students have done
  Whether the task discriminated performance sufficiently
  How much work went into marking and feedback
  How much you enjoyed seeing their work
  How students think this assignment went
  How students think this assignment fits into their course generally
  How well you think the assignment contributed to an overall programme outcomes, such as enabling students to work in teams, or to evaluate sustainability

What other issues are important in the context of your programme?
Whether particular students were able to perform as expected?


I have just completed the feedback analysis tool exercise using two pieces of feedback provided to students from different units.  I found that my two dominant categories were:

1. Praise
2. Advice specific to current assignment content.

One area that was unrepresented on both assignments being "Recognising Progress".

Having reflected upon this, it is very difficult to recognise progress for individual students, as I teach on a degree programme with a cohort of 400 students.  Typically, the marking workload is spread amongst the teaching team and so this will probably have been the first time we have ever seen a particular student's piece of work. 

However, there are opportunities to do this on occasion.  We have a facility at MMU on some units called "feed forward" where students can submit a draft assignment and receive an initial mark with constructive feedback.  They then have the opportunity to amend their submission using the feedback provided which usually improves their grade.  This will be a suitable oportunity to reconise progress as part of the final feedback.      

Having to provide feedback to 400 students is a very time consuming task.  What we typically do is construct a number of common feedback phrases that can be copy and pasted into a student's feedback sheet along with their mark.  It has been evident whilst doing this task that I need to include more feedback from certain categories to add value and balance for students. 

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Task for AHEO Topic 4: b) Critique existing criteria for an assignment task you are familiar with.  My comments are in blue.  This is quite a long document but easy to skim through
Topic 4 task.doc
Topic 4 task.doc

Tweetchat: Hi everyone, I'm going to struggle to moderate a tweetchat tomorrow, as I'll be on the road, but I will try to participate if someone else can moderate it - anyone can have a go! all you need to do is keep an eye on #aheo2014  and pose a couple of questions which occur to you around marking criteria (hope I'm not giving away any secrets here).  For instance, you might be interested in using technology to support marking - a question might be 'is there any way of developing online marking grids?' Or you could be interested in moderation of marks - 'how many samples of marked work should be looked at by a moderator to verify standards?' and so on....Anyone interested?

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Hi everyone.  I've just found this website (which I'm sure many of you already know) which looks really useful in relation to the things we've been talking about.  I'll have a thorough look at it sometime (if I ever see the bottom of this pile of marking ...)

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Topic 3: What do students need to know about assignments?

So, you’ve designed a perfect assignment. Students will be able to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes. But how do you support that process? What information do students need, and when? 

You may find it useful to think about how you would like to be supported as a learner on this course. What more do you need?  Do you think that we have we thought about all that you need, when planning the course?  (you can be honest. We work in educational development. Your skin gets thick! But more seriously, we want to know how to do better!)

Hi All

In the webinar today I mentioned a HEA (Higher Education Academy) event I attended in London earlier this week. One of the many ideas put forward, something tried and tested elsewhere (in this case University of Hull, if memory serves), was the following, briefly:
Students worked in small groups of five to generate an essay on a particular topic of interest to them. This work was marked by tutors, but the students were given the marking criteria afterwards (before getting their grade) and asked to grade their own piece of work. The students were then each asked to write a reflection on the process. After this, they were given their true (tutor) grade, discussed any discrepancy between these (tutor versus student) grades. Students where then, in their original groups, allowed to modify their essay, each student having a part to contribute. Afterwards they wrote individual relective pieces describing their input into the revised edition and the reasons behind these changes.

This task involved actual credit/marks for a course so of course there was student incentive. What I like about this is that not only is teamwork evident, and the reflective process and peer marking process, but students get the opportunity to connect the acutal processes of producing a piece of work and the grading process. The stats on the student opinions were very interesting, which is why I mentioned it towards the end of the webinar.

Trends observed previous to this approach being taken showed that students generally liked to receive feedback, thought it useful but, and this is the clincher, didn't actually use it often. On the other hand, students who had been through the process outlined above liked to receive feedback, thought it useful and ACTUALLY USED IT. Not only that, but students said they would have liked this process/unit task to occur in the first semester, to maximise their time to use what they have learned in terms of reflection and use of feedback, in other units.

Someting for us all to reflect on perhaps :)
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