Assessment is at the heart of the learning process and any effort to achieve excellence in learning and teaching must involve scrutiny and reform of assessment processes. These projects concern issues around assessment for learning. In particular, about the enhancement of the formative potential of assignments through appropriate design of both task and feedback; associated staff development; improved exploitation of CBA; and, the role of criterion based assessment and feedback.
The Initiative has been set up to bring together Faculties to accelerate adoption of online computer based assessment in their courses and programmes. The fundamental premise is that computer based assessment with feedback is an underused pedagogic strategy in the OU and that we should build internal awareness and academic capability in order to improve the learning opportunities we offer to students. Fuller academic engagement will underpin our aspirations to provide a national lead in this form of elearning.
The E-Assessment for Learning Initiative aims to bridge the gap between academic aspirations and systems development. It supports thirteen sub-projects from across the University. In each, academic staff undertake innovative e-assessment implementation projects within their own course context and work under the CETL and VLE umbrella of activities in order to explore and inform future practice and in particular the VLE.
Investigation into 'Elearning communities and identities' encompasses technological, educational, psychological and sociological issues. While all of these issues frequently interlink to enable or inhibit learning it is important to focus on key elements in our research into teaching and learning. These projects seek to enable support, collaboration, dissemination and networking possibilities both within and outside the OU. The key areas of activity are:
- Technology design and deployment (e.g. mobile technologies, social networking tools, social worlds, eresources);
- Social inclusion and exclusion in elearning; and
- Affective issues in elearning
Mathematics poses a number of challenges for learners and teachers alike in an online learning environment. This is mainly because mathematical notation is difficult to produce electronically without a significant investment in training to use specialist typesetting packages (such as LaTeX). There are, however, a number of eLearning type technologies that might be used to overcome this problem. Additionally, there are a variety of eLearning type products that could be used to enhance a student’s overall learning experience whilst studying mathematics.
These projects are exploring and piloting of teaching and learning of mathematics in an online environment; to build on internal awareness and academic capability in order to improve the learning opportunities we offer to students; facilitate fuller academic engagement with teaching online in order to underpin our aspirations to provide a national lead in this form of elearning. Both the CETL and Mathematics-related communities will greatly benefit from this collaboration
There are some basic principles of participation in experimentation and investigation that could usefully be taught in a generic way. The increasing availability of computer-based communications and mobile phones means that it is possible to consider presenting on-line the sort of experimental and investigative activities that used to be day school and tutorial based.
Providing investigations in an on-line environment is an essential component of courses in practical-based subjects that are designed for electronic delivery. The aim of these projects is to explore issues and approaches to the online curriculum and in particular to experimentation and investigation in an online environment.
Teaching Fellows and Associate Teaching Fellows are part-time roles carried out for a fixed term. A Teaching Fellow is an existing member of the OU full-time staff with part of their time set aside to work in the Centre. Associate Teaching Fellows are recuited from the Associate Lecturer staff.
Fellows are working on projects relating to one of the COLMSCT themes:
- Online experimentation and investigation
- Maths Online
- E-Learning communities and identities
COLMSCT is keen to build international as well as national connections with experts in the COLMSCT themes of:
- Online lnvestigation and experimentation
- Maths Online
- E-Learning communities and identities.