Thursday, 23 February 2012

HN 2.0

I've previously mentioned that there is additional money to support this development, and that one of the areas we planned to invest in was assessment. I am about to kick-off a new project to modernise the assessment within the revised HNC.

The HN 2.0 project aims to explore how Web 2.0/social media can be used to assist lecturers carry out assessment in the new HNC award. The objectives are:
  1. identify specific Web 2.0 technologies that can be used for assessment
  2. identify units within the new HNC that could be assessed through social media
  3. exemplify this in terms of concrete examples of evidence generation through social media.
The deliverables will be a report and a workshop.

I haven't created a detailed project plan yet, so I can't be sure about timescales, but I hope to have the work complete by the summer.

I will be seeking volunteers for this project through the usual channels (such as the online group) but contact me directly if you are interested in getting involved.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

SOLAR support

The current HNC/D awards make great use of SOLAR for online assessment. In fact, Computing has more assessments delivered this way than any other subject.

I met with Graeme Clarke, Project Manager for Computer Assisted Assessment, this afternoon to discuss how SOLAR could continue to support the new HN awards.

It was a good, positive meeting. The e-assessment team is keen to support the new awards. He gave me some good news about the HNC Graded Unit -- new assessments were recently added to SOLAR for this important unit. Additional questions have been added to the item bank to make more tests available to centres.

Graeme also pledged support for the new and revised units within the new group awards. It's too early to say exactly what units will be supported through SOLAR, but it was great to hear this support.

Contact Joan Morris if you want to find out more about using SOLAR or find out what is available to centres.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Additional support is coming

We have recently received additional financial support for this development. We have received fairly significant sums of money to support this development. This money will permit us to create additional support materials. For example, we had planned to produce assessment exemplars for the mandatory units only, but this money will permit us to write assessments for many of the optional units too. Some of the money will be used to create e-learning material for the mandatory units in the HNC. And there is now some money to take forward the modernising assessment initiative.

Look out for more information about each of these initiatives in the near future. Or contact Caroline to find out how you can get involved.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Modernising assessment

I came across an interesting paper recently relating to the assessment of Web 2.0 (social media) in universities. The paper is entitled Worth it? Findings from a study of how academics assess students' Web 2.0 activities and was published in the February 2012 edition of Research in Learning Technology. The full paper can be downloaded here.

The paper points out that the use of social media for assessment was limited. When it was used, it was used for low- or mid-stakes assessment. The most common technologies were blogs and wikis. And the subjects that used it most were Social Science, IT, and Education. Its conclusion was not good:

"Web 2.0 cannot be seen to be transforming assessment. On the contrary, its affordances are being appropriated to perpetuate conventional, invisible assessment practices."

The use of Web 2.0 in assessment is a professional interest of mine. My paper on modernising assessment was referenced in this research.

I suspect that practice in FE in the UK is no better and, possibly, worse. One of the goals of the HN Review is to improve assessment. I plan to look at ways that we could utilise some of the affordances of social media to do this. Look out for more information on an "HN 2.0" project in the near future.