Monday, 16 November 2015

The Jisc pilot group on Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA)

I was kindly invited by Jisc to their EMA pilot group in Central London on the 27th October, in a building set just a smidge back from the river Thames.

Photo Credit: zell0ss CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The aims of this meeting were (to quote the agenda!):

  • To evaluate and improve the alpha version of the self-assessment tool
  • To evaluate the generic process model and agree how to present the model and system requirements
  •  To agree actions for pilot institutions and support from Jisc 
  • To share updates on related projects/activities 
We began with each Institution giving an overview of where they are in terms of their Institution level EMA Journey. At Sheffield we now have fairly widespread use of EMA and it has been driven at “grassroots” level by departments looking to achieve a consistent, efficient and modern assessment experience for students. This departmental drive means that, although there are common EMA themes (e.g. anonymous and double blind marking), departments can tailor the technologies to their departmental processes. Our two main technologies that deliver EMA are Blackboard and Turnitin.

We then split into two groups to discuss an EMA self - assessment tool. This tool, which comprised a series of radio button multiple choice questions, was split into a number of different sections or themes. These themes were titled: Strategy/Policy, Curriculum data, Processes and working practices, culture and the student experience. Once the form was filled in the answers would score you into 5 different levels from Exploring to Pioneering.

My group felt that the form should be made available at Institution level but also as a separate or tailored form for Faculty and/or Departmental distribution. We thought it would be of the most use if there were some kind of user “dashboard” which would allow you to control the kinds of questions that would be displayed.

Finally we reviewed a workflow model for assessment and feedback that has gone through a number of iterations already. There was a split between views on the level of detail that should be presented. On the one hand you might want a lot of detail in order to fully capture the variety of processes that Institutions have. On the other keeping it at a high level would avoid it being too complex and therefore difficult to use.

Finally we were given some updates on the related projects including the proposed feedback hub. I then had to depart quickly in order to catch my train. It was great to hear from other Institutions on how they are progressing with EMA as well as having an early look at some of the great work Jisc is doing to help us on our way!

 For more information on EMA have a look at the Jisc EMA blog

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