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During the first two years of the project the eLene2learn network collected more than 60 case studies, where teachers and students of Secondary and Higher Education provide practical tips and indications on their "first hand" learning experiences using ICT and digital media. This "collection" contains two different types of report:

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Case Study - Blackboard vle campus pack wiki - Higher Education - UoD

General information
.Level (age of students) Higher Education Post Graduate
.Discipline / subject / course Medical Education
.Number of participants Approximately 50 new students per month
.Category of the tool Digital media, portfolio
.Tool / resource Blackboard vle, campus pack wiki
.Country Scotland
.Language of the tool or resource English
.Time plan start date Start date: 30 April 2012
.Time plan finish date Ongoing
.Did you use an example scenario from the initial phase of the eLene2learn project as an inspiration? No
Specific information about given case
.Aim To support health professionals in the transition to a masters level online distance course in social sciences
.Objectives To increase understanding of good feedback principles
To increase engagement with the feedback process
To evidence impact of feedback
To legitimise queries with feedback given by tutors
To develop student self-evaluation skills
.Learning to learning (L2L) competences to be achieved • self-regulation
• self-assessment
• self-management
• ability to handle obstacles and change
• communication (reading and writing)
• motivation and confidence
.Proposed activities For each student enrolling an automatic personal wiki is created. Students are encouraged to subscribe to their wiki
For each assignment the student is required to fill in a cover page specific to that assignment, including the following five areas:
A self-review of their assignment's
1.content (understanding of theory / principles and application to own context)
2.Style, format and language (e.g. structure, coherence, flow, formatting, use of language)
3.Sources and references(e.g. range of references cited, relevance, consistency, accuracy and completeness of referencing)
They are also asked
4.Which aspect(s) of your assignment would you specifically like feedback on?
5.How did previous feedback inform this assignment?
On receipt of the email informing them their assignment has been marked they download the marked assignment and are encouraged to load it onto the relevant page in their reflective wiki and answer the following four questions:
1.How well does the tutor feedback match with your self-evaluation?
2.What did you learn from the feedback process?
3.What actions, if any, will you take in response to the feedback process?
4.What if anything is unclear about the tutor feedback?
They may then respond to the tutor's response
.Pedagogical approach taken The induction module (introduced November 2011) contains one short compulsory but non-credit-bearing assignment (maximum 200 words) where students are asked to reflect on why they are doing the course, what they hope to gain and what their worries are.
Students must fill out a cover sheet for this which mirrors those they will meet in the summative assignments. This will allow students to become familiar with the process, with problems being addressed early on.
Instructions for the process are provided in the induction module both written and as a screencast. The tutor sends a standard email when an assignment is marked including these instructions again. This email contains reminders about the stages plus screencasts.
Students are encouraged to subscribe to their wiki so that campus pack sends automatic notification when tutors post to the wiki. They are also shown how to forward their emails from their university account if they use a different account as campus pack only sends to the registered email address, in this case their university student account.
Technical support is offered via email to the cmetechnical address. This is answered within two working days.
.Methods of evaluation An action Research approach was taken to the project, with a cycle of evaluation, design, evaluation, redesign being employed.
Phase 1 (planning): current processes and practice were evaluated including student evaluations, examiner reports, online questionnaire of students, staff interviews and a feedback audit (based on Brown and Glover 2006's FACT and work by Hattie and Temperley (2007)).
Phase 2 (implementation): student queries (type and number), engagement figures, student interviews, student questionnaires, staff interviews, content analysis of cover pages and wikis, sustainability (based on staff time), reliability of software
.Ethical statement 1)Ethical approval to conduct the evaluation was obtained from the University of Dundee Committee
2)Tutors can point students to further resources e.g. an overseas student raising a concern about their level of English was provided with a link to an eBook freely available through the library (‘Academic writing: a handbook for international students' by Stephen Bailey). Problems with referencing, citations and digital literacy are often picked up early on, again with links to further material such as that provided by the Academic Achievement Teaching Unit, with students using this feedback to inform future assignments. For later assignments, if a tutor sees poor / incomplete referencing they can look at previous assignments by navigating the wiki and see what previous feedback has been given.
3)On a distance learning course student representation is particularly challenging, presenting inequity between campus and distance learners. Although we incorporate evaluation forms at the end of each module, the wiki allows tutors to very quickly respond to individual student feedback e.g. addition of a glossary of terms was not only added, the student raising the issue was thanked and informed on her wiki this would happen in the next working week. Students have used the wiki to increase non-course specific dialogue, minimising the challenge of isolation for distance learners. For example, in response to feedback recommending meeting a friend for a coffee to update on progress, the student replied they did not like coffee so would settle for tea. In this way a relationship is built up with the student, encouraging them to consider the wiki a safe environment to explore their concerns and celebrate their successes. By including a question inviting students to share what they did not understand in the feedback, cultural differences in understanding can be identified and tutors enhance their own understanding.
4)As feedback is now typed on the computer, students with specific needs such as requiring larger text or screen readers are catered for. A report on the process has been written by the University Web Accessibility expert and used to inform development of the current system. By developing screencasts to explain the process we are able to offer asynchronous support, important for individuals working out with University of Dundee times. Our students are all health professionals, many full-time, often working evenings or at weekends. As our student body is global, we have students in different time zones. All screencasts used to support students through the process are also available as PDFs. This is important for individuals for whom screencasts are not suitable, for example due to physical disability, English not being their first language, or technological restraints in their setting.
5)Developing independent learning is key to our programme. We recognise the importance of self-regulation skills for students to fully develop as independent life-long learners. For this reason we have devised a process where students are supported through developing self-evaluation skills. The cover-sheet is not assessed per se but feedback can be given by the tutor on the self-evaluation. At the wiki stage the student is asked to reflect on how well the tutor evaluation matches their own, further developing evaluation skills. The students are prompted to seek specific feedback on the cover page and are actively scaffolded to reflect on and to process the feedback in light of their self-evaluation.
6)It is made clear to students their wiki is private to them but accessible to all tutors on the programme plus external examiners.
Evaluation of the outcomes and impact for learners (summaries of feedback)
(with particular attention paid to the initial aims and objectives of the implementation plan and the key competencies developed)
.Summary of student feedback - Usage (max 200 words) Since the implementation of the interACT process, following a one month introductory period, we have obtained 100% student completion rates with the compulsory addition of the cover page to each assignment. This is not surprising as students who fail to include the cover page have their assignment returned with a request to attach it and re-submit.
The wiki component, although not compulsory, has been strongly encouraged and its use has been remarkably high. We have calculated engagement rates with the wiki journal for 3 four-month periods, one prior to streamlining changes that were made to the Wiki process (4 months into the process) and two following these changes. Engagement with the Wiki has increased as a result of the streamlining process mentioned above and queries to the administrator about the process have reduced to a couple per month. Engagement with the wiki has improved following streamlining the process for the certificate core modules (31-88% before, 52-87% thereafter and 58-77% for the 3rd period).
The majority of dialogues cease after one loop (i.e. student uploads assignment and answers the four wiki questions, the tutor thanks the student via the wiki for their feedback and may make a clarification or further point.
.Summary of student feedback - Benefits (max 200 words) Of those responding to the survey the majority felt that the cover page was valuable and that the process of self-evaluation and reflecting on feedback is valuable for their learning and promotes assessment and feedback dialogue:
"Ability to request feedback about specific issues"
"Allows last review of work before submission and focuses the self-assessment"
"Gives you a chance to tell the tutor what your concerns about the assignment are ‘up front'"
"It is a chance to think critically about how you approached the assignment and the assignment assessment criteria"
"There is an element of expectation that there will be some dialogue"
Preliminary analysis demonstrates that student-tutor dialogue is occurring within the cover page or wiki and across the cover page and wiki. Aspects of the dialogue have even continued across assignments with students referring to feedback in previous work that had informed the current piece of work. We see dialogue being initiated by students and tutors at different times.
Some students have indicated via the question relating to what they have learnt from the process that they are considering ways they can introduce feedback dialogue into their own teaching.
.Summary of student feedback - Development of competencies (max 200 words) The cover-page creates the framework for phase 1 of the feedback dialogue. Here students are required to show evidence of self-assessment as they must self-review their assignment against clearly set out criteria on content, writing style and references. They also manage their learning by identifying areas they require specific feedback on.
The question on concerns allows them to identify obstacles to their learning. Feedback on this encourages them to handle these obstacles, and supporting them through their transition to masters' level online learning.
Their writing skills are also commented on, thus developing their communication skills.
Although not currently supported by peer support from within the programme, those who express concern about the isolated nature of the course and time management are encouraged to create a peer link in their institution.
The questions relating to tutor feedback motivate the student to engage with the feedback and identify how they will use it in future assignments. Support in their academic writing and review skills increases their confidence as masters' students.
.Summary of student feedback - Challenges or barriers (max 200 words) Although the induction has been rated highly, students commented on the amount of work for a non-credit bearing module. Some found reflective writing particularly challenging and would have liked more academic support on this and critical evaluation. Some found the cover-page monotonous after a few assignments, in particular the questions relating to referencing and style.
Some tutors initially had concerns about the extra time involved, but this seems to have been dissipated by increased work satisfaction from the dialogue.
The initial process was cumbersome for students, involving more steps and being administratively heavy. Many students found this stage difficult, increasing admin traffic and potentially reducing student satisfaction.
The Subscribe button is not 100% reliable, resulting in some students not receiving a response to their wiki reflection. It is not currently known if this results in demotivating students to engage in feedback dialogue.
Students did not always make the most of dialogue opportunities e.g. some answered ‘all of it' when asked what specifically they wanted feedback on.
.Summary of student feedback - Improvements that can be made to the activity or the application (max 200 words) Make as part of an accredited module, validating student effort and allowing more academic support.
Within the accredited module create a section on engaging with feedback dialogue, encouraging students to evaluate their own attitudes to receiving and acting on feedback.
Give examples of feedback dialogue of different quality to students to critique e.g. ‘all of it' in the part where they are encouraged to be specific
Remove the questions relating to referencing and style after the first couple of assignments as this became repetitive and did not add to student-perceived learning
Consider a more robust technological solution (though bear in mind all other functionalities e.g. we chose Campus Pack because this allowed a single log-in, we could automatically generate the wiki)
.Summary of tutor observation - Usage (max 200 words) All tutors are required to engage with the cover page and the wiki. There was 100% engagement with the cover page. A repeat of the feedback audit is planned for the New Year to see if this has changed tutor feedback profiles.
The engagement with the wiki is unknown. There is no automatic way of reporting wiki engagement. However since the administrative task of subscribing to all student wikis and forwarding the automatic email alert to the relevant marker tutors have reported that they are engaging 100%.
.Summary of tutor observation - Benefits (max 200 words) Overall tutors rated the process positively. Initial concern about the time involved does not seem to be preventing tutors from engaging as the value and satisfaction from seeing their feedback make a difference in terms of learning negates the extra 5-10 minutes per assignment reported to be needed. As it is not the same tutor who marks every assignment for a student it was difficult for any of the tutors to comment on whether they needed to provide less feedback over time. However they did acknowledge that the re-structuring of the course has led to fewer longer assignments so it is felt that some of the additional time spent will be counterbalanced by the fewer assignments.
An unexpected benefit has been that some reported an improvement in their own feedback processes as the categories cue them in to what they should be providing feedback on. The satisfaction of providing feedback to students' identified needs and also to know that previous feedback has been read and used is also high. Tutors found the wiki journal a simple way for closing the feedback loop because they receive feedback on the assignment and their feedback if anything is unclear at which point they can quickly address. Administrative staff found the number of technical queries had sharply declined after developing screencasts, streamlining the process and the introduction of the emailing alerting students to their assignment being marked. For specific quotes and further depth please see the institutional story.
.Summary of tutor observation - Development of competencies (max 200 words) Tutors developed self-assessment and self-regulation skills in their evaluation and support of students' self-assessment.
They also developed their feedback skills, improving their written communication.
Student feedback very often thanked tutors for their ideas, including direct replies to suggestions made in the in-text feedback. This was motivating and confidence-building for the tutors.
Faculty development relating to feedback dialogue encouraged collaboration with their colleagues. Off-campus tutors were able to easily access others' feedback, again allowing them to build confidence in their own feedback and feeling more part of the team.
The intervention will continue to be evaluated, allowing us to see if student self-regulation and self-assessment skills do improve across the modules.
Tutors felt the students had increased motivation and confidence levels through using the feedback dialogue. The question relating to if there was anything they did not understand legitimised student queries, improving self-management.
.Summary of tutor observation - Challenges or barriers (max 200 words) No comment.
.Summary of tutor observation - Improvements that can be made to the activity or the application (max 200 words) No comment.
Reflection and recommendations regarding the activity and approach used by the teacher, tutor or trainer
.What worked well? (max 250 words) The faculty development sessions to discuss feedback and supported feedback dialogue was facilitated by experienced facilitators from outside the Centre (another department in the University). Exploring participant thoughts on benefits and worries was highly informative to the whole team. From here the academics co-created a cover page, encouraging buy-in to a process which would increase marking time. As this coincided with a major curriculum redesign we were able to justify reducing the overall number of assignment to counteract the increased workload.
The use of the wiki allowed a single repository across the whole programme. Tutors all had access to student wikis, allowing tutors to easily check on previous feedback. This was particularly important to our programme which has part-time tutors across the globe.
.What would be done differently? (max 250 words) More education is needed for students at the beginning of the programme on the purpose of feedback and how to engage with feedback dialogue effectively. We have now created a workshop on this which is being piloted with our face to face students September 2013.
Faculty development is needed to help academics support student self-reflection skills through feedback dialogue.
Currently the cover page is the same for every module apart from the learning objectives (which are specific to an assignment). This can cause evaluation-fatigue on questions relating to referencing and style.
Another technical platform may have improved the dialogue, providing multi-modality, a more reliable Subscribe, and more automation of the system, reducing admin workload. The technical team are currently looking at other options.
.Recommendations for other practitioners who may consider using this approach (max 250 words) Hold faculty development sessions to share thoughts on feedback and its purpose, and the potential benefits of and barriers to structured feedback dialogue. This should include all stakeholders including academic, administrative and technological staff and students.
Co-construct a cover page suited to learning objectives and student level (and consider how this may affect buy-in of future markers who have not been involved in this stage)
Map out current assignments – we used Russell & Bygate's ESCAPE which is a visual tool, allowing us to see clearly formative, low and high stake assignment dates and potential problems creating useful feedback dialogue before next assignment submissions. For cohorted courses with different modules running in parallel this would also highlight module assignment conflicts.
Streamline the process, including all stakeholder viewpoints. Employ an iterative evaluation / development approach. E.g. in September 2012, based on student and tutor feedback, we made several changes including moving some tasks from the tutor and student to an administrator; contacting students who have not subscribed to their wiki reminding them of this step; and asking all tutors to send an email informing students when the assignment has been assessed. This resulted in a marked increase in engagement from students.