Handling Marks

In tandem with the TRAFFIC project, the University is putting in place a series of measures to improve the ways in which the coursework submissions ‘lifecycle’ or process is managed. This is in response to student requests via the Students’ Union termly reports and comments in both the Internal and National Student Surveys, as well as staff observations about processes and duplication of work through the TRAFFIC baseline report and user groups. This project has several phases, and began with the entry of provisional marks directly into the Student Record system (QLS), so that there is now a reliable single record of coursework marks.

The next stage was the implementation of improved coursework receipting systems, which now cover a wide range of assignments. This seems to be working well and good feedback has been received from students and staff on this process.

The third phase is to release the provisional marks from QLS back into Moodle so that they are readily accessible to students. Work is currently underway on final testing and this facility should be available to students in early April 2012. Students will be able to see all provisional marks which have been entered into QLS/Agresso via the existing “Assessments” block in the right hand column where the submission dates for summative coursework is already displayed. This supports student feedback that one of the main benefits of Moodle is being able to access all learning, teaching and assessment information for units in a single location. This Powerpoint presentation by Professor Mark Stubbs summarises the current developments.

We are aware that the imminent availability of marks via the Moodle Assessment block, coupled with the timing of the launch of this facility may mean that in some cases this year, student access to marks and feedback comments may be separated. Whilst this can be a useful element of feedback design, it may not be intentional this year. We anticipate that this facility will be a useful service to students who are not on campus during the exam preparation period to get an idea of their performance in coursework submitted towards the end of the spring term, and it’s possible that they would have difficulties coming in to collect their written feedback in this period in any case. We need to do some further publicity about this and to find ways to remind students (eg via a Moodle announcement) about arrangements for collecting their coursework feedback, even though they may have already received their marks via this new feature in Moodle.

The next stages of the overall project will include extended guidance and support on the use of electronic submission and return for coursework, which is intended to provide more choices to those staff who wish to collect and return work to students using Moodle. As part of this work we are also developing ways to integrate electronic marking and return of work more effectively with the QLS/Agresso mark recording system. This is intended to further reduce academic administration of coursework by enabling grades for work submitted and marked in Moodle to appear in QLS/Agresso automatically and to work towards the SU request that we aim to provide assignment feedback electronically where possible. Future blog posts will explain this in more detail, as the TRAFFIC project will be reviewing the technology available for these tasks and testing and piloting selected approaches.

Mark Stubbs has been doing some initial work on the technical requirements of the system, whilst other members of the team are looking at the support and development needs for staff and students.

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