MoRSE Project - Emerging Feedback and Assessment Issues


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Presentation by Dr Richard Hall, De Montfort University and Dr Tim Linsey, Kingston University, at the "Improving Assessment and Feedback Practices in a Technology-Enhanced Teaching and Learning Environment: Theory and Practice" Event, 19th May 2010 at Kingston University. Part of the "Higher Education Academy : Evidence Based Practice Seminar Series 2010"

The presentation provides an overview of the Mobilsing Remote Student Engagement (MoRSE) project and some of the emerging findings concerning feedback and assessment.

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  • This is a joint project between Kingston University and De Montfort University Builds on two earlier HE Academy funded projects: Rapid Reaction and Response (R3) at KU focussing on mobile classroom technologies Web 2.0 tools and approaches at DMU to develop institutional knowledge and understanding of these tools and environments and associated professional development.
  • The School of Geography, Geology and the Environment (GGE) at Kingston University run a series of fieldstrips, both nationally and internationally throughout the year. The project focusses on fieldtrips attended by students studying on both the GIS and Geography Degree programmes.
  • Student groups are often distributed across a field area and traditionally may have limited interaction with other groups. However each group may be investigating components of a complex investigation where real-time / near real-time collaboration / information exchange may enhance understanding and problem solving.
  • A number of tools were trialled that could be used to promote sharing, collaboration and support. The tools that were used were freely available and could be used in conjunction with mobile phones and other personal technologies. Specialist ‘GIS Industry’ mobile technologies - ArcPAD from ESRI enabling geographical data to be displayed, edited and shared using handheld mobile devices. One of the reasons for using the selected software  was because it provided students with exposure to those technologies used by industry, it provided a good range of dedicated tools, and the software is similar in look and feel to the desktop ArcGIS environment that the students are familiar with.  Students used the tools to map land use change on Malta. Aspects of this activity could be implemented using openly available Web 2.0 technologies and other Open source environments e.g. Google, Instamapper and OpenStreetMaps. Geo-coded micro-blogging – Students were encouraged to include a geographical reference within Twitter postings. Dr J. O’Brien devloped an application to extract the geog. Reference from twitter postings with specific hashtags and then map the location. Live video – was used to enable live video streams to be broadcast from mobile phones.
  • Students were asked to photograph specific features of interest in the field and upload them to the photograph sharing site Flickr. This can be done using a mobile phone camera and then emailing the image to the Flickr server. Using the dedicated Flickr application that can be downloaded onto specific mobile phones allowed a grid reference, tags, and a description to be added to photographs. These photographs could be available on Flickr within minutes of being taken with other students then having the ability to add further comments. A RSS feed was made available using specific tags which fed the photographs into the VLE and allowed students to pull them into their PLE.
  • Live tracking using a mobile phone with integrated GPS. The Instamapper mobile phone application was used which broadcasts a geographical reference (in addition to altitude, speed and bearing) at a given time interval which can be fed to a public website.  to: - enable students back at the institution tThe track is also recorded and can be exported and displayed via Google maps.  This facility could be used o access relevant resources / real-time databases / perform analyses relevant to the location and feedback to the field group confirm sampling strategies / geographical gaps in data collection. The link provided is one of the interactive tracks recorded on The Duver as part of the Isle of Wight field trip.
  • The aim of the MoRSE project for the Pharmaceutical & Cosmetic Science degree, during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic sessions, is to pilot and develop the learning experience of placement students using a variety of web-based and remote technologies. The emphasis is on the students’ learning experience rather than the technology itself, so the various tasks outlined below can be achieved by alternate means. A series of introductory workshops was run by members of the MoRSE project team at DMU for the students who would be going out on placement in 2009-10, as well as students returning from their placement during 2008-9. These sessions established the students' expectations of placement learning and support, and their capabilities and limitations with regard to the various technologies available. In addition, the whole of the second and final years of the course were surveyed about their use of technology. Five academic staff and two staff from the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences' Placement Unit are supporting eight students from the Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Sciences course at DMU who are now on Placement in a range of settings. The students and the academic supervisors have been engaged in training on a range of read/write web tools to support reflection in practice. Academic staff have also been involved in development sessions, in order to focus their support for students around the use of multimedia, blogs and wikis to support reflection on placement.
  • After long discussion about technologies to support placements, Blackboard was chosen as a repository and as a space for a personal blog and shared wiki, for task-work because it was secure and familiar to students and staff. Students articulated that using Blackboard was crucial as it helped anchor them back in the University after being away for a year. Context and scaffolding the experience is the key determinant of which technologies to use. Prospective placement students argued for a structured academic experience on placement with clear communication, in order to help them understand the placement experience, and not feel lost. It would be useful to see the previous experiences of others. Returners concurred stating that the use of Blackboard was important as that was the tool they used before and after they went into industry. It helped maintain links with DMU. Prospective placement students were concerned about using tools, e.g. producing podcasts, for the sake of it, whether this would be more work than was unnecessary. Writing and the use of diaries was seen to be the main form of academic communication. All students were concerned to keep social and academic tools separate. Email and blogging and wikis within Blackboard, were seen as academic, Facebook and SMS as social. Synchronous classes were seen as critical for socialisation and reflection. Pre-work with all staff and students is critical before the start of the placement, in terms of the tools to be used, the activities to be undertaken, and the ground rules for collaboration at a distance. Returning placement students highlighted the impact of personalised technologies and tools on their experience, although these were used outside the work setting. They also highlighted the positive impact of social networks and socialisation on their experience in a company.
  • Returning placement students felt the change from reports to a portfolio, linked to specific, regular tasks, would enable students to look back on what they had achieved and experienced, and would stop students who have so much to do on placement, putting back their reporting deadlines. Returning placement students highlighted the importance of structured reflection and task-work, and the value of a UCPD approach. Returning placement students suggested that using returners as mentors in induction for new or prospective placement students would be useful. This would then help anchor them back in the University after being away for a year. Returning placement students highlighted the importance of face-to-face visits once or twice a year back at university to share experiences, and maintain links. They also argued for contact mechanisms for academic work and for sharing our experiences in the company.
  • Staff were concerned about increased workload, especially around feedback and assessment of the UCPD. However, they see the value of enhanced communication. They also reported that companies wanted to know how the placement experience could be improved.
  • It is seen as important for industrial supervisors to be involved in feedback using some technologies that can be shared by individual students and their academic tutor and industrial supervisor. It is important for industrial supervisors to listen to issues in context, and for the students to make suggestions in confidence. Tasks and tools need to be as low-cost as possible in terms of time, but also need to facilitate reflection on and analysis of the impact of the placement on the student and their research. Industrial supervisors also felt that identifying what was surprising and original in the placement experience is important. For sharing, a newsletter style was seen to be important. However, there is a risk that public social tools like wikis might threaten confidentiality and the business strategy.
  • Returning placement students highlighted the importance of structured reflection and task-work, and the value of a UCPD approach. The different start-times of students on placements in different locations has practical implications for shared working or networking. The delivery team need to evaluate how this impacts the collaborative activities, and future structuring of placements. This only emerged during the development of the UCPD in work-based learning. Work has started on developing a University Certificate in Professional Development (work-based learning), in order that the students receive extra credit for the Placement (60 credits at Level 4). Thirty credits will be assessed via a report, which was the previous model for evaluating performance on placement. However, 30 credits will now be based around a series of monthly, reflective tasks. This new curriculum is being mapped on-line, although it should be noted that the different start-times of students in different locations has practical implications for shared working or networking. Two major categories of learning task are proposed: ‘private’ activities, where the student’s work is only available to the academic, and where necessary industrial, supervisors; and ‘public’ activities where postings are available for all students to view and comment on. There will be two main channels for the student: private blog – visible to the student and academic supervisor only, but can be accessed by other members of the academic team or the industrial supervisor; public wiki for sharing, comment and critique of experiences. While initial postings are likely to be text-based, video and audio postings will be encouraged, especially as the staff and students become more familiar with this mode of communication and the underlying technologies. The intention is to share these products with students who are considering placements next session, and it is proposed that a real-time or face-to-face meeting is held in January between current and future placement students. The general activity structure is for the task in odd-numbered months to be a specific update on the student’s placement progress and should develop into a dialogue between the student and the academic supervisor where reflection on placement learning should be developed. The even numbered months will be collaborative tasks to build up a general collection of information about the placements and a series of impressions about the whole experience of moving to a new place to start work in a different environment.
  • MoRSE Project - Emerging Feedback and Assessment Issues

    1. 1. Mobilising Remote Student Engagement Dr Richard Hall, De Montfort University Dr. Tim Linsey, Kingston University
    2. 2. Afternoon Overview <ul><li>Project Overview and context </li></ul><ul><li>Students on Field trips: assessment and feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Students on Placement : assessment and feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Some questions for you </li></ul>
    3. 3. The MoRSE Team <ul><li>Dr Tim Linsey, Kingston University </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Richard Hall, De Montfort University </li></ul><ul><li>Leicester School of Pharmacy, DMU </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Malcolm Andrew </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Peter Taylor, De Montfort University </li></ul><ul><li>School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, KU </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Stuart Downward </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Ken Field </li></ul><ul><li>Dr James O’Brien </li></ul><ul><li>Academic Development Centre, KU </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Ann Ooms </li></ul>
    4. 4. Project Context <ul><li>Joint project between Kingston University and De Montfort University </li></ul><ul><li>Builds on earlier HEA Pathfinder projects at KU and DMU </li></ul><ul><li>To develop a situated understanding of the impact of mobile and personal technologies on student and staff practices, beyond the institution, and on institutional processes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Work Placements (DMU) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Field trips (KU) </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Assessment and feedback headlines <ul><li>The disruptive nature of being away from ‘home’ affects the nature of assessment and feedback. </li></ul><ul><li>For some staff the use of edtech to support these students is problematic. </li></ul><ul><li>A mix of stakeholders involved in tasks impacts student assessment: mentors, staff, industry. </li></ul><ul><li>Never underestimate the need for induction linked to both personal edtech and the curriculum. </li></ul><ul><li>The use of students as mentors augmented the quality and types of feedback. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Field Trips <ul><li>Centred in the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dr Stuart Downward </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dr Ken Field </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dr James O’Brien </li></ul></ul><ul><li>GIS and Geography </li></ul><ul><li>Field trip locations include the Isle of Wight, Malta and south-east Spain. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Field Trips: assessment issues <ul><li>Integration of fieldwork and other aspects of the curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Co-ordination and collaboration amongst staff and student groups distributed over a study area. </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing resources/collaborating synchronously and asynchronously </li></ul><ul><li>Access to resources, real-time databases, ‘experts’ and support from the field. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Tools used / trialled <ul><li>Specialist ‘Geographical Information Systems’ mobile technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Geo-coded micro-blogging ‘ Cartoblography’ (Twitter mash-up) / Ubertwitter </li></ul><ul><li>SMS for communicating with staff (Txttools) </li></ul><ul><li>Live video / video sharing ( </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile Skype </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile phone voice recording </li></ul>
    9. 9. Photo sharing (Flickr) Latitude: 50 deg 41' 52.92&quot; N Longitude: 1 deg 5' 54.42&quot; W Date: 2009:10:18 12:41:25 Comments: Looking North. Concrete walk / sea defence. Groynes visible with sediment banked on their north side indicating sediment migration southwards Tags : IoW, Duver, Coast, Groynes, Map of photograph locations
    10. 10. Sharing via many channels including the VLE
    11. 11. Photo sharing: assessment lessons <ul><li>Enables sharing between students in the field, and with those at University. (Geo)Tagging and comments extend feedback and understanding. </li></ul><ul><li>Impact on core skills of observation, identification and sketching needs further evaluation. </li></ul><ul><li>Integrating mentor feedback and student/staff commentary into the production of a student’s final summative assessments needs agreement. </li></ul>
    12. 12. Live Tracking (Instamapper) Altitude Speed Bearing 18/10/2009 12:37 N 50.69961° W 1.09922° 35 0 0 18/10/2009 12:38 N 50.69965° W 1.09904° 49 0 129 18/10/2009 12:39 N 50.69967° W 1.09905° 51 0 49 18/10/2009 12:39 N 50.69922° W 1.09888° 52 6 167 18/10/2009 12:40 N 50.69877° W 1.09872° 51 5 165 18/10/2009 12:40 N 50.69830° W 1.09860° 46 5 173
    13. 13. Synchronising GPS Units with Personal technologies Using GPicSync & Google Maps
    14. 14. Synchronous tasks: assessment lessons <ul><li>Enables students back at the institution to access relevant resources/real-time databases/perform analyses relevant to the location, and give feedback to the field group. </li></ul><ul><li>Confirmation of sampling strategies and gaps in data collection. </li></ul><ul><li>Enabling students to capture and integrate feedback in the production of their final summative assessments needs identification. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Personal technologies <ul><li>High level of Laptop usage (83% ) </li></ul><ul><li>All students possess a mobile (40% PAYG) </li></ul><ul><li>Some student usage of dedicated cameras and MP3 players. </li></ul><ul><li>64% of students interested in taking personal technologies on field-trips </li></ul><ul><li>77% of students willing to use their own text credits for educational purposes </li></ul>
    16. 16. Initial Student Feedback <ul><li>Generally positive response to the use of SMS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>somewhat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>agree agree </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive impact on my motivation to study 51% 16% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Useful for feedback on my understanding 49% 40% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advise staff to continue using 37% 54% </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Positive in using personal technologies </li></ul>
    17. 17. Field-trips: assessment issues <ul><li>The mix of edtech to be used needs consideration in light of tasks: synchronous, asynchronous etc.. </li></ul><ul><li>Mentors and induction help develop engagement with real-time feedback. This is crucial where reflective assessment asks are developed. </li></ul><ul><li>Students need support in manipulating digital resources that they capture. </li></ul>
    18. 18. “ For assessment or for knowledge?”
    19. 19. Placements <ul><li>Leicester School of Pharmacy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dr Malcolm Andrew: HLS e-Learning Co-ordinator </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dr Peter Taylor: Placements Tutor </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pilot and develop the learning experience of placement students by aligning structured reflective tasks and web-based technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Tasks and delivery methods planned with students, and trialled with 8 Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Sciences’ students on Placement </li></ul>
    20. 21. Placements: student social issues <ul><li>Structured interactions to overcome isolation </li></ul><ul><li>Structured interactions to maintain connection </li></ul><ul><li>Social networks and socialisation </li></ul><ul><li>Need for sharing of experiences between staff and students, and those preparing for placement. </li></ul><ul><li>Use of returning Placement students as mentors </li></ul>
    21. 22. Placements: student assessment issues <ul><li>Ongoing feedback from tutors and peers </li></ul><ul><li>Reflective learning, linked to a portfolio </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing motivation and understanding of students preparing for placement </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of a range of feedback mechanisms, including face-to-face </li></ul>
    22. 23. Placements: edtech-assessment issues <ul><li>Before: favour the use of mobiles and social networks for feedback on tasks/experience </li></ul><ul><li>Before: the use of technologies for reflection that might be assessed not favoured </li></ul><ul><li>During: use correlates with academic support/industrial setting demands </li></ul>
    23. 24. Feedback on Placement <ul><li>Theory-in-practice: future-proofing; resilience; pressure; team-work; business context </li></ul><ul><li>Managing project issues and taking responsibility </li></ul><ul><li>Emergent networking in a range of contexts </li></ul><ul><li>Emotive: warm; no regrets; slowly enjoying it </li></ul><ul><li>Developing kinaesthetic/physical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Key for the tutor: “ can you come and tell the first and second years about it?!” </li></ul>
    24. 25. Placements: staff assessment issues <ul><li>Workloads: feedback, communication, reflective learning, portfolio assessment </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of a range of contact mechanisms, including face-to-face visits </li></ul><ul><li>The value of enhanced communication </li></ul><ul><li>Enhancing the role of industrial supervisors/student mentors </li></ul>
    25. 26. Placements: industrial supervisor issues <ul><li>Support for personal, private tools that are “low cost” </li></ul><ul><li>Recommended formats/structures for concise and positive outputs: newsletter style </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on impact, surprise, originality, learning </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding the curriculum and its delivery </li></ul><ul><li>Risk: social tools that have no business benefit </li></ul><ul><li>Risk : confidentiality and reflective tasks </li></ul>
    26. 27. Placements – curriculum delivered <ul><li>Defining a robust curriculum leading to a UCPD in WBL – enhancing motivation. </li></ul><ul><li>Private [blogging, multimedia] and public [wiki , multimedia] tasks: reflection, theory in practice </li></ul><ul><li>Mix of institutional and external tools </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-placement work is key </li></ul><ul><li>Input from industrial and academic supervisors in reflective activities </li></ul><ul><li>Share outputs with prospective placement students </li></ul>
    27. 28. Assessment: lessons learnt <ul><li>Pre-work with all staff and students is critical before the start of the placement/fieldtrip </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tools to be used </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Activities to be undertaken </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ground rules for collaboration </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Contextualisation, and scaffolding the experience, is the key determinant of technologies to use for assessment. </li></ul>
    28. 29. Afternoon workshop <ul><li>In small groups, think about one context or learning task in which you might wish to extend the application of mobile and personal technologies for assessment and feedback. </li></ul><ul><li>What opportunities would there be in this approach for you? </li></ul><ul><li>What threats or barriers exist? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you need to do, in order to trial or pilot one intervention? </li></ul>