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Digital education

Enhancing assessment and feedback quality through the use of multimedia technology

12 December 2016

Welcome to week five of our series on Education Innovation Fund projects. This week we’re hearing from Dr. Ilona Johnson in the School of Dentistry on using video to enhance the student assessment experience.

Our project started with an interesting question.

How do we improve student experience and quality in relation to assessments?

The question sounds simple but in reality, the answer is much more complex. A perfect challenge for academics and one which has required innovative educational thinking across many schools.

As a background to this work, a number of schools have been using video and multimedia technology for education and members of staff do discuss and share their experiences and practices whenever it is possible to do so. The team involved in this project are members of staff who use, or are happy to use new technologies and who are actively interested in engaging with innovation. Each member of the team has brought experience and innovation to this project.

The project looks at using video for assessment in four main areas:

  • to explain assessments and assessment criteria to students
  • to calibrate staff delivering assessments (so that students receive a consistent experience of assessment)
  • to develop stimuli for assessment across multiple disciplines (using video to develop the assessment of interdisciplinary knowledge and skills)
  • to develop the use of video (and more specifically criteria for video) as alternative submissions for assessments)

The purpose is to innovate and improve student experiences by working together across our respective schools, learning from each other.

This is a relatively challenging project as it requires all of our team to work together in different ways. This is not always easy with our respective teaching and assessment schedules, but this is part of the point and it is becoming increasingly clear that we have a great deal to learn from one another.

As an example:

In dentistry, we have been using video to help our students develop for a number of years. Most recently, we created mock viva videos (good and bad performances). Our students were given the opportunity to watch the videos and act as “examiners” using the assessment criteria online. We found that our students really valued this experience, with many reporting that they felt more confident and less anxious about the assessment because of the videos.  We have also used videos to calibrate our examiners for assessments, again with positive feedback. As such we felt we had a great deal to share but, our discussions with our colleagues have shown us that we have plenty to learn too.

The plan is to build on this, using what we have learned and the experiences of our colleagues to create videos to enhance student experience and assessment quality in this way.

So what have we learned so far?

The process of selecting an assessment where video may help and then developing videos to enhance experiences is one that involves looking at assessments and topics from multiple angles. For those delivering the assessment, it can provide an incisive view of each of the steps involved. raises questions about how we develop and deliver our assessments. Questions such as: “What does a good performance really look like?”, “Where is the border of pass and fail?”. These questions are useful for improving quality and consistency.

We have been actively looking at topics and assessments to see what we have in common. This seems to remove many barriers to progression and moving forward. This process has also generated a lot of questions and conversations about “so how do you do?…”. In other words, this process has driven conversation, innovation and joint-working between many disciplines.

More than anything, we have learned that we have much more in common than we had originally thought and there are many more opportunities for working together than we could have imagined. We share a common goal, which is to enhance student experience and we look forward to sharing our work with you.