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Online assessment

UTS students now make use of UTSOnline in their day-to-day studies and integrating the technology into the assessment bring the assessment regime closer to the learning environment of students.

Despite the widespread use of computers in teaching and learning their use for assessment have only been limited. There is a tendency to associate computer-based assessment with automated multiple-choice questions, possibly because it was one of the earliest uses of computer technologies. Computer-based assessment not only automates routine tasks like marking multiple-choice questions, but also can enrich student’s learning experiences (Brown, Race and Bull, 1999).

Currently, the main use of online assessment at UTS is for formative rather than summative testing of students. This is most commonly providing feedback through online discussion forums or online quizzes. Another popular use of online technologies is for the electronic submission of written assignments, which can streamline administrative processes. As issues of security, access and equity are resolved summative online testing are increasing in the hope that it will help manage large volumes of marking and administration generate efficiencies that can ease academic workloads

This guide is intended as a resource for UTS staff to become familiar with the issues behind using the Internet for formative feedback. It draws on a number of recent studies on online assessment and on interviews with staff and students on the assessment practices in different sections of UTS. This guide provides information and examples on assessing online discussions. A second guide on online assessment deals with online examinations. The second guide focuses on the online testing. Strategies for providing online feedback to students are listed at the end of this guide.

There are a number of perceived benefits in using computers in assessment which Harvey and Mogey (1999) list as,

  • Large numbers can be marked quickly and accurately
  • Students response can be monitored
  • Assessment can be offered in an open access environment
  • Assessments can be stored and reused
  • Immediate feedback can be given
  • Assessment items can be randomly selected to provide a different paper to each student