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Improving educators’ understanding of online assessment

In September, the Education Design team worked closely on ways to help ANU academics improve the online assessment experience in their courses. One initiative was to invite A/Prof Phillip Dawson from the Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning at Deakin University to talk about Contract Cheating in Online Assessment. His presentation focused on understanding cheating in the remote learning context, and what can be done to address contract cheating.

Following on from Phil’s talk, the Education Design Team offered some open-invitation workshops with an action-focus, aimed at equipping academics with a plan for their online assessment that they could develop further. One of the participants was Maho Fukuno, a PhD candidate in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics, CASS, who said:

You’ve given me so much useful, practical advice that I can apply to this upcoming exam and also to the future assessment designs.”

In addition, two bespoke workshops were co-designed by the CLT Education Design team, the ITS Learning Systems Support Group, College educational support staff and the relevant Associate Directors Education.

The workshop for the Mathematical Sciences Institute (MSI) in the ANU College of Science focused on academic integrity, as well as setting up online exams and quizzes.

The workshop for the Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies & Statistics (RSFAS) in the ANU College of Business & Economics focused on online invigilated exams, including academic integrity and alternative assessments.

Working with the Associate Directors Education ensured that the workshops specifically targeted the needs of academics in their Schools, with detailed workshop preparation proceeding once the workshop objectives were endorsed by the ADEs. The Associate Director Education in MSI, Associate Professor Linda Stals appreciated the work of the Ed Design team, saying: “Thanks again for all the work that went into organising the workshop.”

The workshops were designed to meet professional development needs of College educators with a particular focus on online assessment. Each workshop had a different focus tailored for participants, with one participant in the RSFAS commenting “[This was] an interactive course with step by step demonstrations, convened by experienced professionals.”

As noted, one key foci of the Education Design team was planning and liaison directly with academic leadership in each of the colleges, including meetings and short surveys to understand their local area concerns and needs in order to develop objectives for the workshops.

The Education Design Team created Wattle sites for each workshop along with appropriate support material, including short videos on specific topics relevant to the workshop, and the provision of Padlets for participant involvement. The workshop design included pre-activities for participants, if it was requested, to help participants prepare for the day’s activities and post activities. Additional resources were made available to participants and the Wattle sites have remained open for further use. The workshops were recorded for participants unable to attend on the day and for participants’ revision.

“Thanks for your input this morning. It was one of the biggest turnouts for such an event we have hosted!” Joseph Hughes, Manager Education Design, CLT, in response to Linda Stals, Associate Director Education, MSI.

November 2020


Dr Joseph Hughes is the Manager of the Education Design (ED) team, and Dr Scott Rickard is an Education Designer in ED team – one of the three teams within the ANU Centre for Learning & Teaching (CLT).

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