PG Cert AP: Day 6

The final day of the first semester was a little unusual. The morning was given over to a review of the assignments for this module which are to complete the UKPSF form, critique a learning session, analyse a learning theory, and write a report on the experience of peer observation, comparing the experience of being the observer and the observee. Drafts are due at the end of semester 2, with final versions by September. All well and good, and all covered in the module guide. This session didn’t add anything, and yet we did literally spend the entire morning debating it. Strange things happen when you have academics as students.

The afternoon session was more useful. First there was a short presentation on evaluation in general, why and how to do it, followed by an introduction to nominal group technique. A definition of evaluation was given as ‘assessing the process and practice of a prior learning strategy or event by feedback and trying to make objective summaries of an often subjective interpretation.’ This was followed by a discussion on the different types of evaluation – student, staff, data, and self – and the difference between quality assurance, which is backwards looking and tends to be about accountability, and quality enhancement, which is about how to improve and develop your programme or module.

With quality enhancement in mind, nominal group technique was then introduced followed by actually using it to evaluate this first semester. As a group, and with the programme leader absent, we drew up two lists of ten to twelve points of things that are going well, and things which we think need to be improved. These were written on a board in no particular order, then individually we had ten votes, or points, with which to rank what we thought were the most important points. So for example, if you thought that ‘over-assessment’ and ‘use of VLE’ were the two most important things that needed to be improved upon, then you could give each one five votes. The programme leader was then invited back in and the votes were added up to show what we collectively ranked as the most important things for improvement, and what we felt was going well. The outcome of this evaluation will be actively used in the development of the programme for the second semester.

PG Cert AP: Day 5

A very interesting morning session for the technology module, EDPM08, covering uses of technology to support self and peer assessment. The great thing about the tutor on this module is that they don’t just know their stuff, they back everything up with research proving that what they’re talking about works. That’s definitely something to keep in mind and aspire to in my own teaching.

First there was a discussion about peer marking, and research that shows that it only takes a surprisingly small number of peer grades to be averaged for it to approximate the grade of a tutor. That’s something that could prove very useful in the assessment for the ArtWorks MOOC that I’ve been assisting to develop. Then we covered the value of real-time formative feedback assisted by quiz tools such as Socrative and Poll Everywhere. And finally, not strictly supported by technology, there was a discussion about comparative marking, giving tutors two papers and deciding which of the two should get a higher mark, but without actually grading them. An interesting idea that I would like to look into further to find out more about how it works.

There was also a nice, almost throwaway remark about the concept of ‘desirable difficulties’, and anecdotal evidence that students learn more from bad lecturers as it makes them have to work harder to make sense of what is being taught. A kind of unintended experiential learning!

The afternoon session was back to the core module, EDPM05, and the use of reflection on teaching and learning. This was facilitated through an iterative exercise where we discussed where and how reflection takes place, wrote down ideas on sticky card and then worked the cards round on a board to reach some conclusions as a group.


Have discovered Flubaroo today. Well, I can’t really lay claim to the ‘discovery’, I’m sure other people knew about it, but it was new to me. Flubaroo is a plugin for Google Docs Spreadsheets that can automatically grade the submissions from the corresponding Form and email the students their grade, turning Forms into a very useful quiz tool.

The background to this was an academic who wanted to transition from paper based assignments, for a cohort of around 300, to online submission. The easy option, use the Exam tool in the VLE, was not suitable as it does not have a calculated numeric question type. There are many, many quiz tools out there with similar functionality, but I suggested adapting Google Forms because the results would go straight into a spreadsheet and he was already having to use an Excel spreadsheet because of the complex formulas in question (entering the student’s work manually, time consuming and introducing a source of error).

Looking for a way to automatically send students their marks led me to Flubaroo that can not only do this, but can also automatically grade responses based on a specified answer row. Usage is straightforward: set up the form as normal, complete the form yourself entering all the correct answers (this is an important step, you’ll see why in a moment…) and then in the responses Spreadsheet find and install Flubaroo from the Add-ons menu. You run the tool from the same menu, so Add-ons > Flubaroo > Grade Assignment and then you will be asked to first assign points, or not, to each column, and secondly to specify a row to use as the ‘correct answers’ row, which is why it is important to take the quiz yourself first.

There are a few points to note. First, it will not allow you to grade an assignment until there have been at least two submissions, which is logical when you think about it, one to be assigned as the answer row, and at least one to actually grade. If you want to re-grade an assignment you have to go through the set-up process of assigning points and correct answers again, and similarly there is no option to simply grade new submissions to catch the stragglers or anyone with dispensation to submit late. Finally, the ‘Grade’ sheet which is produced is not live-updating, so if you want to manually grade some questions or award extra points you need to update the column in question and then the Total Points and Percent columns manually as well, it’s a shame those two columns are not formulas instead, but these minor quibbles do not mar an excellent little tool.

How to Mark an Assignment – Storyline Presentation


The presentation I put together for student submission was well received and it has led to others. This one is for markers where there is only a single marker. The tool that the team is developing has the ability to accommodate multiple independent markers. The player is looking a little better now and I added the video in a different way with better results, more like an actual video than a series of screenshots.

Making these has been a little difficult as Storyline kept crashing on me when I was using the precision timing editor. Upon investigation I found that this was because I was running Storyline on a Windows 7 virtual machine in Parallels and had all my files on the desktop of my computer. Parallels has a nice little feature whereby it links the desktop on the host Mac with that on the Windows client, but it does so by making the drives on the Mac a pseudo-network drive in Windows. I discovered on Articulate’s forums that working on, and saving files to a network drive can cause various performance problems, and when I moved my files to the actual C drive it solved all of my problems.

How to Submit an Assignment – Storyline Presentation


We have been developing a new online submission, feedback and marking tool for one of our faculties and I was asked for advice on creating an interactive guide for students on how to submit to the system. I recommended Storyline for which we had just purchased a few licenses on my recommendation, and this is the result. I actually recommended Storyline for another project which is further down the line so I ended up having to put this together at very short notice, it is consequently a little rough around the edges. I will develop a proper template in due course.