Friday 23 November 2012

Would you like to offer peer assessment on your course?

The following describes a pilot I ran of the Peer Assessment tool in LearnUCS on a lecture I provided for a Communication and Study Skills Module in School of Science, Technology & Health.

This was a single lecture, which included a formative assessment task. The task involved three short answer questions. In the past I have set the questions, collected the submissions, marked and feedback the work. However, I’ve always question the effectiveness of the learning activity and what do they do with the feedback. Especially, as this is a one-off piece of work, outside of their discipline context.

Therefore, this year I changed my approach and made this a peer assessed piece of work. The intention being if they marked other people’s work, they would (based on Race 2006)

  • practice softer skills, eg constructive criticism

  • learn from each other and place their own work

  • compare themselves with their peers

  • engage with the marking criteria

  • engage in deep learning eg evaluation

In the past I’d worried about the administrative workload aspect of peer assessment. However, with the Self & Peer Assessment Tool in LearnUCS, the administration has been reduced.

My observations of the process are;

  1. The technology is very straightforward.

  2. The system managed allowed me to enter the questions, publish the marking criteria for these questions, allow me to set the timings for the key stages (student submit their work, student marks peers work, student collects they marked work, grades are released through gradebook).

  3. At all stages I could check who had been doing what, I could access the submissions, the evaluations and the results

  4. students didn’t seem to have a problem completing the process. Although a proportion must have been strategic, observed it was purely formative and didn’t complete it.

The following describes the broad process.


Create the Peer Assessment submission using the Self and Peer Assessment Tool, which is available within the assessment area. When you create this you need to consider a number of options, for instance; the submission period, the evaluation period, the number of scripts a student will need to mark, and if you’d like the feedback to be anonymous. When you add the individual questions, you can include a model answer steer which will be made available during the evaluation period. For each question you can add a number of marking criteria.

Create time in the lecture plan to allow students to engage with the marking criteria. I released part of my lecture as a video and set this as a pre-requiste to attending. This allowed me to deliver the core knowledge which I would apply in the session. It also created time in the face to face session to set a group activity around the marking criteria and marking some scripts.

Post lecture

The submission point was available and students submitted their work. When the evaluation stage started I announced this on my LearnUCS module, and released a video of marking a number of scripts against the marking criteria.

At the end of the evaluation period, the evaluated copies became available to students. Given this was a formative exercise I read the submissions and scanned the comments. Based on their submissions I drew together some generic feedback.

I announced through LearnUCS and suggested they reflect on their assignment and feedback to answer the question “I have read the feedback provided on my assignment and I have identified areas I can improve. These include ...

The following video is a walk through of the area in the LearnUCS module, which gives you a sense of how I approached it.

If you have any questions about how you might use peer assessment using LearnUCS, please email the Elevate Team.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Looking for a topic for your School or Division Meeting? How about technology enabled assessment and feedback

Did you know the Elevate Team are available to come to your School, Division or Course Team meeting to discuss various themes around technology enhanced learning?

We've just run a 1 hour session for the School of Science, Technology and Health around technology enabled assessment and feedback. This session looked at around enhancing the current assessment and feedback pattern to enable more effective feedback, and even out the assessment load for staff and students. It used a number of technology based strategies, including the use of quiz, peer assessment and group work.

The slides are available from:

If you'd like the Elevate Team to run a session at your School, Division or Course Team Meetings, please email

Tuesday 13 November 2012

LearnUCS - The Numbers - Part 2

This update is a little later than planned, due partly to last weeks Development Sprint.  It is interesting to see how the numbers add up now we are into the second month of LearnUCS.

LearnUCS Statistics for October 2012

Application Insight

(Course views are all pages within a course, non course page views are pages outside of courses, such as the LearnUCS home page, announcements page)

We can see below that compared to September's stats, usage has grown quickly.  Page Views in and out of courses has almost doubled as has the number of logins.  Although active courses has dropped, we will need to look at why this is.  Is it due to student logging in, see what is or is available and then not accessing that area again, or is it something else?

Total Monthly Logins47.438
Total Page Views2,090,875
Average Page Views Per DayNon course - 51,225
Course - 18,470
Most Active DateNon Course - 74,594 - 17 October 2012
Course - 31,287 - 17 October 2012
Total Number of Courses5987 (including historical courses form 10/11 and 11/12)
Total Number of Active Courses1660

 October Stats










Mobile LearnUCS Statistics for 13th October 2012 to 13th November 2012

The mobile app was only released on an end user licence basis in mid September, this allows students and staff to use the mobile app even though UCS doesn’t licence the service directly.  Users are now able to download and pay a small fee to use the application themselves.

Total unqiue logins for the period was 203.

The iOS platform is still the most use mobile operating system.

Mobile App Usage

Mobile App Usage

It will be very interesting to see how the numbers add up next month.

Learning Technology Taster Sessions

The Elevate team taster sessions on Learning Technology start today. The topics we are covering today (in no more than 15 minutes) are:

  • using the peer assessment in LearnUCS

  • using clickers in your teaching

The session plans are available from:

The topics we are covering on the 15th Nov are:

  • creating a talk over powerpoint (11.10 to 11.25) in W209

  • changing the look and feel of your LearnUCS module (15.10 to 15.30) in W417

For more information, email



Friday 9 November 2012

LearnUCS Access Issues - This Morning - 9/11/12

We have been made aware of a number of access issues for students logging in to LearnUCS this morning, 9th November 2012.  We have identified the problem, which is an issue with the student data feed file that gets passed to LearnUCS each morning.

We have rolled back the feed file to the last known good file, which was the 7/11/12.  We have run the process to reenable the student accounts that had become disabled.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Learning technology heads up: What it can do for you

As part of the Elevate Team SARE we ran an online survey around how we can improve our services. A theme which came out of this survey was the need from staff for short (15 minutes) show and tells on different learning technologies and how they might be used within your (teaching) context.

The following is a number of short sessions we'll be running during November 2012 which will hopefully meet this need. If you have any questions or would like us to cover other topics, please email

These are drop-ins, therefore, you do not need to book, simply turn up.

  • Using the peer assessment tool in LearnUCS >>> 13th Nov at 11.10 to 11.25 in T308

  • Using Clickers in your teaching >>> 13th Nov at 13.10 to 13.25 in T308

  • Creating talk over powerpoint movies >>> 15th Nov at 11.10 to 11.25 in W209

  • Changing the look of your LearnUCS module >>> 15th Nov at 15.10 to 15.25 in W417

  • Getting started with the Quiz tool in LearnUCS >>> 20th Nov at 11.10 to 11.25 in T208

  • Using iAnnotate and ExplainEverything (iPad Apps) to enhance Student Feedback >>> 20th Nov at 13.10 to 13.25 in T308

  • Using the LearnUCS Wiki for Student Group Work >>> 20th Nov at 15.10 to 15.25 in T303

  • What does Twitter offer your teaching? >>> 21st Nov at 15.10 to 15.25 in H106

  • Bringing experts into your teaching using the GoTo Meeting Desktop Conference software >>> 22nd Nov at 11.10 to 11.25 in T308

  • Using the peer assessment tool in LearnUCS >>> 22nd Nov at 13.10 to 13.25 in T308

  • Using Clickers in your teaching >>> 22nd Nov at 15.10 to 15.25 in T308

Tuesday 6 November 2012

UCS Learning Technologists are off developing software (5th to 9th Nov)

The question of the week is, where have the learning technologist gone? The answer is, they've gone on a software development sprint. So both David and Aaron will be working on achieving two key objectives over the week which should transfer across to learning, teaching and assessment at UCS.

The first is to finalise the location aware quiz engine (based around QR Code). This tool was developed last year as part of a previous software development sprint. We have had requests for a formative location aware quiz engine which students could access on their own devices. The aim of this sprint is to finalise the software, complete the documentation, so it can rolled out as a production service. The intention is to release this under a creative common style license to other institutions.

The second piece of work is to explore some new functionality which has been released within the Aurasma Augmented Reality software which we've been using for a while at UCS. This will allow augmented sequencing. This has great potential to enhance the level of interactivity within the augmented material. We are exploring the potential of being able to develop pathways through the learning material.

So, what happens with the support when they are out of the office? The answer is not much. The implication will be the level of phone support will be reduced as they'll not be at their desks. So, please email all questions to where they'll be picked up at certain times of the day.


Friday 2 November 2012

Why don't flip your classroom to make more time for class activities?

Flipping the classroom is a new term for a well established educational process. The idea is to make time within face to face teaching to focus on developing the higher order skills of analysis and synthesis, as opposed to using this face to face teaching to deliver the lower order skills of knowledge and information. This division is acheived by providing the knowledge before the session in the form of videos and/or interactive tutorials, and enabling the face to face time to be focussed on active learning techniques and class discussion.

Given technology developments this is becoming much easier to achieve at UCS. The following describes why and how I flipped my classroom for a lecture and assessment I delivered on a Communication and Study Skills Module in School of Science, Technology and Health.

The learning design involved a formative assessment which was peer assessed. As identified by Race (2006) the expectation was the peer assessment process would facilitate the student practicing constructive criticism, learning from each other, engaging with the marking criteria and promoting deeper learning through evaluation.

My challenge was to deliver a significant amount of content which is time consuming while managing a class activity on peer assessment. To be effective this activity is time consuming as the students need to engage with the marking criteria. Therefore, to make time for the students to discuss the marking criteria and set up group marking exercises in class I needed to move the knowledge and information component outside the face to face session. In other words, flip my classroom.

A key requirement was to ensure there was a sense of continuation from the video (pre-session) to the face to face lecture

A few tricks I used included:

  1. make the video production simple. I used a talk over powerpoint

  2. in the video I included a task which they need to complete before the lecture

  3. in the video I concluded with an overview of “what we’ll cover in the lecture”.

  4. I used the announcement tool on Blackboard to communicate the video is available

  5. in the lecture I spent some time to answering the task set in the video

  6. in the lecture explicitly refer to the video to encourage them to re-visit the video after the session

What did I find?

The creation of the video (talk over powerpoint) was very simple. I uploaded it to the module area on LearnUCS. There was a need to communicate effectively with students to ensure they understand the need to watch the video before coming to the session. I was glad to see many of them had.

The resources are available below and illustrate how I tried to connect the learning activities


Race, P. (2006) The lecturer’s toolkit: A practical guide to assessment, learning and teaching