Why I Support Online Based Assessment
The introduction of technology in university lecture halls of developing countries like South Africa has been one of the significant advancements in the history of higher learning institutions. Advanced technologies provide effectiveness and enable local universities to compete globally. Instead of feeling threatened by the idea of using of technology in teaching due to reasons known and those that are unknown lecturers should allow themselves to be inspired by the idea of incorporating the traditional ways of teaching with the technologically innovative ways of teaching. One does not stand to lose much but an experience and an advantage to gain from such innovation.
There are various tools available in the Blackboard LMS that enable beneficial innovation in teaching and learning, once lecturers have established what is it that they wish to achieve in their teaching. The only way to knowing which tool is best to be put in practice is through testing. To mention all tools in a single blog would make for a very lengthy reading, in an attempt to avoid this, the tool of choice for this piece is Blackboard based tests.
As mentioned earlier, one does stand to lose something when using Blackboard for assessment, though it is not much of a loss but at that particular time of setting up the test it may seem like time is being wasted whilst attempting to construct an online test. This may seem like the case simply because when setting up of the test, one has to the trial run the test to assess the student experience before the students attempt it. Now that the ‘loss’ has been stated, what is likely to be the gained in online based tests?
- The first most common answer is the instant assessment and immediate feedback of which the students receive within seconds of completing the test.
- There will be no scripts piling in the lecturers’ office to mark and no unannounced visits by students who did not make it to class to collect their scripts.
- The lecturer has access to the consolidated grades with just a click of the button; saving much time not having to enter the grades in excel sheet cells.
Furthermore, education pundits such as John Dewey and David Kolb advocated strongly for experiential learning of both students and lecturers through the act of doing. This happens to be realized when the students experience taking tests online, for lecturers this occurs whilst they are finding out which testing methods fit the test during preparation. The end result of this is the lecturer addressing the best practices one of the undergraduate teaching (Chickering and Gamson), that is allowing students to have immediate feedback which communicates high expectations from the lecturer by communicating with the students that they are expected to improve their performance.