Digitally supported assessment

Havemann, Leo; Katan, Simon; Anstead, Edward; Gillies, Marco; Stroud, Joanna and Sherman, Sarah (2023). Digitally supported assessment. In: Amrane-Cooper, Linda; Baume, David; Brown, Stephen; Hatzipanagos, Stylianos; Powell, Philip; Sherman, Sarah and Tait, Alan eds. Online and Distance Education for a Connected World. London: UCL Press, pp. 195–210.




This chapter focuses on digital assessment and feedback practices in distance education. Providing evidence of learning through assessment is at the heart of students’ experience of higher education (HE), whatever their mode of study. Open and distance education-focused institutions have justifiably been proud of their technical innovation, tending to move rapidly to harness available technologies (from post to broadcast media and, most recently, online media) in their mission to enable education for remote, distributed groups of learners. In recent years, distance education courses have, in the main, moved from paper and digital media delivered physically to wholly online delivery, except where the circumstances of target learners preclude reliance on a reliable and fast internet connection. In terms of content, discussion and collaboration, where distance education has forged ahead, campus-based, blended programmes have generally followed. However, in terms of assessment and feedback, distance education has remained somewhat conservative. While most assessment in distance education has taken place online along with content and communication, there has been a tendency to replicate fairly traditional assessment formats using digital tools.

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