Our use of online assessments is through etivities which are designed to leverage meaningful and evidence-based online interactions via in-depth discussion boards and collaborative Wikis amongst many other technologies, the design of which are all rooted in social-constructivist theories of teaching and learning. These intentionally elicit ‘double-loop’ interaction between peers, critical engagement and facilitate a sense of community and peer support within the cohort, critical to an optimal level of learner engagement, whilst building a collaborative intelligence within each cohort, yet acknowledging the constraints and enablers of the individual professional context of each learner. Team working, collaborative tasks and social interaction all enhance the process of cognitive development and often result in greater evidence of the achievement of learning outcomes, as this allows for deeper engagement with concepts as multiple perspectives challenge existing assumptions.
A good example may be found in our In Company “Live” Project which all learners complete at the end of their first year on our 2 year part-time fully online MSc in Project and Programme Management. The project is delivered in 5 stages as illustrated below.
This project is run over 7 weeks and during each stage learners are required to conduct peer reviews and provide constructive formative feedback through collaborative wiki spaces. The extract example below illustrates the etivity design and the type of interaction that takes place during stage 1.
This approach is repeated in each of the 5 stages and ultimately leads towards the final submission report and presentation – which is the main piece of assessment for the module (65%). The etivities themselves account for 10% of the module.