Together with Technical Developer Sat Anandhan, I have been involved in UAL’s Online Assessment Tool (‘OAT’) project since its inception.
OAT is an online assessment grading and feedback tool developed to support the delivery of high quality and timely assessment feedback to students throughout the university. Available to course teams as an optional alternative to other tools, it was used for the first time on two courses (one LCF, the other LCC) in late December 2011.
Since then, around 320 UAL courses have made use of this new platform. Over 30,000 instances of feedback have been published so far and over 11,500 students have accessed their feedback via this route. Such a large number of ‘early adopters’ shows that OAT largely meets the needs it was designed to address – and provides invaluable user insights into how it can be further improved and extended (whilst retaining one of its key features – simplicity).
OAT essentially simplifies the process of providing assessment feedback to students. It does this by minimising unnecessary administration and thus allowing academics to concentrate on providing high quality feedback. Students can then conveniently access this feedback via Blackboard or Moodle and make use of it in a timely manner.
Insights and suggestions received from users (students, tutors and administrators) have been invaluable in planning further improvements. The latest iteration (now available in Moodle, soon available in Blackboard) will seem very familiar to current users, but it is more intuitive and requires fewer clicks. This version also adds several extras including extended template setup options and an extended ‘multiple markers’ setting (we are looking for additional course teams to further test and refine this last feature).
Some of the benefits of OAT are summarised below in quotes from tutors and students.
- The tool has significantly reduced the amount of time spent and repetitive tasks the team had to do regards generation of assessment feedback.
- Studio assessment – speeded up this process!
- The way the team has used the new tool has allowed for quality procedures (double marking, internal moderation, etc) to be built into assessment practice much easier.
- This is the start of a robust pedagogically sound system for assessment and feedback.
- Can be accessed anywhere!
- Reliable. Fast.
- It nice to have it available wherever and whenever if I need to remember what critique I received and need to improve for new, ongoing projects. It also nice to have for later when you one day probably have lost the original sheet.
- I live far away from uni so this helps me get feedback without having to travel all the way there just to receive a piece of paper. It’s also quicker.
- I think it is excellent and very useful. It saves me lots of time from going into uni to collect the essay and find out the grade.
More information on assessment at UAL is available at http://www.arts.ac.uk/assessment/.