Over the past few years, distance education supported by computers and communication networks has emerged as an innovative and productive delivery mode of instruction and learning. The concept of distance learning implies the use of virtual learning environments (VLEs) that allow people distributed in space or time to work individually or in groups in order to achieve a learning goal or objective.
Main Focus: Integrating Collaborative Assessment
Several researchers analyzed different aspects of involving students in collaborative assessment. Topping (1998) reviewed a significant number of studies (109 in all) and found it to be a reliable and valid evaluation method. Race (2001) and Brown (2001) concluded that anonymity is critical for reliable results (for example, friendship is likely to result in over-marking). Other studies highlighted benefits and drawbacks (Davies, 2000; Dochy, Segers, Sluijsmans, 1999; Falchikov & Goldfinch, 2000; Koosha & Madadnia, 2002; McConnell, 2002; Race, 2001; Sadler & Good, 2006; Zariski, 1996). It encourages involvement, teaches responsibility, provides increased feedback, improves student understanding of assessment criteria, and promotes learning. Although the collaborative assessment is beneficial to collaborative learning, it is time consuming for the instructor. The instructors’ workload for preparing and implementing the collaborative assessment activities can be fairly heavy, particularly in large classes. Hanrahan and Isaacs (2001) estimated that it took over 40 person hours to run the process in a class of 233 students (mainly in preserving the anonymity of both assessors and assessees and allowing teaching staff to track the process). Is it possible to address this drawback using a computerized system? If yes, which are the pedagogical and technical requirements for a successful integration of collaborative assessment in this electronic alternative?
Key Terms in this Chapter
Student peer assessment in tertiary education: Promise, perils and practice. In J. Abott, & L. Willcoxson (Eds.), Teaching and learning within and across disciplines. Proceedings of the 5th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, Murdoch University, 189-201. Retrieved, April 30, 2007, from http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf1996/zariski.html
Log In: The log-in process recognizes registered users and enables a new session.
Collaborative Assessment: The process that involves students and instructors in evaluating student coursework.
Registration: The process that creates a user and provides a LoginName, Password, and a unique UserNumber. The registration process creates two types of users, student and teacher with different permissions. UserNumber: A unique number assigned to identify each user and preserve anonymity
Web-Based Collaborative Assessment Systems: The systems supporting collaborative assessment. They are based on a Web server and a relational database management system (RDBMS) while participants access the systems through an Internet browser.
Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs): Systems that allow people distributed in space or time to work individually or in groups in order to achieve a learning goal or objective.
Mechanics Of Collaborative Assessment: The whole process includes definition of the assessment criteria, anonymity, awareness of the assessment data, reviewer-mapping, and assessment