Universities across the globe are attempting to change assessment practices to address challenges in student engagement and achievement and to respond to a global employability agenda demanding evidence of a broader range of skills and competencies. In the UK this has acquired urgency given the shift of higher education over the last 20 years from the prerogative of an elite minority to mass participation in a highly diversified market system. Integral to this interrogation of objectives for assessment is the identified need to develop and improve academics’ assessment practice. Strategies frequently focus on attendance at formal Continuous Professional Development events and/or implementation of institutional blueprints.
This book showcases how scholarship as part of academics’ practice can be part of an academic toolkit for change that expands awareness and knowledge of the purposes and effects of the pedagogy of assessment. The case studies – ranging from assessment in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), to assessment design for students whose first language is not English, to the effectiveness of peer learning to support academic integrity and programme-level assessment strategies – are framed by an introduction that explores a ‘communities of practice’ approach to the institution-wide improvement of assessment. It argues – through a case study from The Open University (OU) – that academics’ professional expertise is best deepened through participation in authentic activities of teaching and scholarship. The discussion identifies what is involved in such an approach including the role of an enabling principles-based framework, the constraints on implementation, and the implications for leaders of teaching and learning.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Open Learning journal.
Editorial Introduction – Developing academics’ assessment practices in open, distance and e-learning: an institutional change agenda 1. Assessment worlds colliding? Negotiating between discourses of assessment on an online open course 2. Paragogy and flipped assessment: experience of designing and running a MOOC on research methods 3. ‘I understood the words but I didn’t know what they meant’: Japanese online MBA students’ experiences of British assessment practices 4. Case study: what supports students to improve their grades? 5. Using collaboration to foster academic integrity 6. The introduction and refinement of the assessment of digitally recorded audio presentations 7. Designing and developing a programme-focused assessment strategy: a case study