Appropriate assessment for resource based learning in networked environments

Macdonald, Janet Ruth (2000). Appropriate assessment for resource based learning in networked environments. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000d619

Abstract

Recent advances in the use of information and communications technologies in Higher Education have led to an explosion of interest in networked learning, which offers the potential for more open ended and flexible study in an ODL context. Anew generation of resource based courses in networked environments combines access to a wide variety of resources in electronic form, with the construction and negotiation of meaning through online collaborative interaction. This study set out to establish what assessment strategies might be appropriate to support student learning in this context.

A case study of one Open University undergraduate course was undertaken over a three year period, with three cohorts of students, and the findings were compared with a short study of a second postgraduate course. The research explored perspectives on resource based learning in networked environments and highlighted aspects of assessment which appeared to support learning effectively. These findings led to the refining of assessment in later course presentations, demonstrating a successful interplay between evaluation and teaching practice.

The study has confirmed that the assessment strategy must be aligned with the exercise of self-directed learning, whilst developing information handling and online collaborative skills, and allowing scope for open-ness and flexibility in content. The extent to which these criteria for design are important will depend on the stage of development of the students, and the aims, and degree of openness of the course.The experience here shows that it is important to identify and differentiate between appropriate skills required for a course, and those which the course will seek to develop, so that the assessment can reflect these aims.

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