Category Archives: Assessment

Learning about Learning Design and MOOCs

Two upcoming MOOCs (Massively Online Open Courses, in case there are folk still not sure what the acronym is for!) that I have signed up for – though whether I’ll be able to complete them I honestly don’t know yet. It is no secret that my blogging, virtual worlds, and research activity have all slowed down over the last year or so – as I’ve had to put increasing amounts of time into my day job of lecturing. But with some luck I’ll be able to get stuck into these two…

Starting soon, will be the Open University’s Open Learning Design Studio MOOC. The course aims are fourfold:

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e-Assessment Scotland 2012

There is a good range of talks and online sessions coming up as part of e-Assessment Scotland 2012. A full day of talks in Dundee on the 31st of August, with online sessions running for a full week before and after that date. More details here:

I’m looking forward to Geoff Crisp’s keynote session, and the Second Life session (yes, there are still folk using Second Life!), but there should be something there for everyone.

JISC Assessment workshop: From Challenge to Change…

From Gráinne Hamilton:
Effective Assessment in a Digital Age Workshops
From challenge to change…

Using principles of good practice, work with colleagues towards an effective model for the use of technology in assessment and feedback.
The JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland is pleased to be partnering with JISC to deliver the final workshop in the successful series based around the JISC Effective Assessment in a Digital Age publication, and associated online resources, The event will take place on 27th October in Glasgow at the Radisson Blu hotel.
The workshop will be exploring how the use of technology in HE and FE, linked to principles of good practice in assessment and feedback, can help promote more effective learning. These workshops, which draw on the work of recent JISC-funded projects as well as related significant developments in the area of assessment, will have a practical, hands-on flavour with a focus on how to move from current challenges towards sustainable change.
The workshops will be suitable for:
  • Lecturers, tutors and course leaders who design assessment and feedback for their learners
  • Intermediaries with a role in supporting practitioners with assessment, and technology-enhanced assessment (learning technologists, e-learning/ILT champions, staff developers, educational developers, academic registry)
I am delighted that two examples of the effective use of technology in assessment from Scotland will feature as part of the event, with case studies from Cumbernauld College and the University of Edinburgh.
Further information together with the registration form is now available from


Tranforming Assessment

The new season of online presentations on Transforming Assessment continues on the 7th of September with a presentation on “Stealth assessment: embedded evidence-based assessment in games” from Valerie Shute

During gameplay, students naturally produce rich sequences of actions while performing complex tasks, drawing on a variety of competencies. Evidence needed to assess the competencies is thus provided by the players’ interactions with the game itself (i.e., the processes of play), which can be contrasted with the end product(s) of an activity—the norm in educational environments.

This presentation will describe the design and development of evidence-based assessments (embedded in a game) to measure 21st Century competencies. When embedded assessments are so seamlessly woven into the fabric of the learning environment that they’re invisible, called ‘stealth assessment’ (Shute, 2011; Shute, Ventura, Bauer, & Zapata-Rivera, 2009). Stealth assessments within games provide a way to monitor a player’s current level on valued competencies. That information can then be used as the basis for support, such as adjusting the difficulty level of challenges or providing timely feedback. One to two examples of the approach will be provided, time permitting.

Audience members are encouraged to participate and contribute.

More details, including link to local times for your time zone from the Transforming Assessment site:

Using Web 2.0 Tools to Develop and Support a Multi-Campus Class

I was at the JISC RSC Scotland SW Future Focus event on Friday. There were some great sessions during the day – Jane Hart gave the opening keynote, with a very motivational (and fun) afternoon keynote from Gavin Oates of Tree of Knowledge. In between I attended a couple of sessions related to games and 3D technologies in education: Dr Vassilis Charissis 3D training applications for surgeons and medics, and Keith Quinn’s demonstration of the use of the PSP Second Sight application to develop augmented distance learning training packs for Glasgow City Council. More details on these and other talks in the full programme.

The event closed off with an awards ceremony awarding prizes to some of the institutions and individuals who submitted case studies to “Best of the West” – a collection of examples of effective and innovative practice, to help share knowledge and expertise across the region.  There are about 50 of these, and they are well worth a browse – covering a wide range of tools and technologies across a range of disciplines in FE and HE. My own case study – Using Web 2.0 Tools to Develop and Support a Multi-Campus Class – has a bit of everything bar the kitchen sink, as I used a bunch of different resources and technologies to allow me to develop new materials for a multi-campus class with limited time. The class finished after writing up the case study, and I’m pleased that it received some of the most favourable feedback I’ve ever had from students. Re-writing the module as it was being taught was undeniably hard work – but the technologies and resources used both made it easier and made it better than it would have been otherwise.

On Friday I was extremely surprised to find out that my case study was one of six shortlisted in the Teaching and Learning category of the awards – and somewhat taken aback when I was awarded a Highly Commended prize. As you can see by the breadth of my smile here.


Webinar recording: Using SLOODLE for Assessment

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of giving a short online talk as part of the Transforming Assessment series of talks supported by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council and led by Geoffrey Crisp at the University of Adelaide.

The recording of “Assessment in Virtual Worlds with SLOODLE” held on
30 November is now online.

Download and view in a number of formats via

Reward Systems that Drive Engagement

Over the summer I’ve been ‘running’ UNversity – an online choose-your-own-project summer un-school for UWS game technology and game development students. A key feature of this was that it had to require minimal investment of time from myself (other stuff to do!), but I wanted to try to engage students, and encourage regular participation. Using a custom Moodle site, with some minor hacks, we have a points system and a leader board. We also have a basic badge system  – though I haven’t been able to spend the time to award badges, and they aren’t automatically awarded – so students have to self track their badges until UNversity wraps up and I’ll give out certificates and prizes.

The system has kind of worked – it has engaged some folk, and once folk have got into it, they have indeed kept up regular participation. But a number of students started, and quickly stopped – while others never really got started.

I’ve just watched a video of a presentation on by Amy Jo Kim from GDC 2010 that might have helped me better design my points and badge system – MetaGame Design: Reward Systems that Drive Engagement. This has given me food for thought, and I can see a couple of ways I went wrong – particularly on the need to provide more ‘early’ rewards for people getting started, and making those more visible. (A way to automatically tweet or send a Facebook message  from Moodle would be nice to make this easier!)

Overall, I think I’d have been limited by what I had time to implement though, so I’m not going to beat myself up too much about it… but perhaps there is a good student project in this – building the system I need to do this better next year.

Virtual world and Game Based Learning studentships

PhD Studentships for starting next academic year at UWS are now online. The School of Computing has a number of studentships in the area of game based learning and virtual worlds for education, here.

From first glance, the relevant projects are (apologies for the ALL CAPS – thats how they are listed!):

quizHUD – Exploration and Assessment in Second Life

A delayed post this…

Last week we released the Sloodle quizHUD for use in Second Life. This is a Second Life user interface ‘HUD’ extension which allows students to explore a 3D environment and participate in assessment (formative or summative) in that environment. There are some obvious similarities with the some of the tools created for the PREVIEW project (see previous post), and some significant differences. More details below…

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