The Bid


To investigate the use of mobile technologies in innovative assessment design and guidance, broadening the range of assessment practice to enhance tutors’ and students’ digital literacy.


  • To map the current use of mobile technologies in assessment by staff and explore student perceptions.
  • To explore and evaluate three case studies of digitally based assignments across the School of Education.
  • To design a digital toolkit to support staff in devising assignments and assignment guidance.

The use of mobile technologies is a current and developing part of education: students come to university with their own mobile devices and there is great potential to use these in their own learning and with the children and young people they support on placement and in employment. The recent OECD (2015) Report ‘Students, Computers and Learning, Making the Connection’ suggests that schools have a long way to go in terms of using digital technologies effectively in learning; this makes it even more significant that when these learners come to university we model the use of mobile devices and technologies and the potential they offer in learning, teaching and in assessment. In keeping with the University’s teaching and learning approaches it is important to provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their digital and information literacy skills, awareness of e-safety, copyright and privacy issues in individual and collaborative assessment items.

Finding out more about the use of mobile technologies in assessment in the School of Education will allow us to evaluate current practice and provide a platform from which to develop an approach to support all staff as they review and redesign assessment items. This could firstly lead to consideration of traditional assessment items that can be supported by mobile technologies in the assignment introduction and guidance phase with students by using screencasting tools/apps such as ExplainEverything, Panopto and Kaltura. Data about the use of these can collected through capturing number of views on YouTube, and using statistics in NILE and more qualitative data investigating the impact on students and exactly how they used the resources can be collected through surveying the views of students.

Assessment items that have the potential to be inherently digital in nature, where this enhances the opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning, will also form a key part of the project. The use of mobile technologies can allow students to be more creative and more connected to a range of places where they learn and work (outdoor sites, schools and employment, international locations). They will be able to use aspects of the tools to collaborate purposefully by co-creating; commenting upon each other’s learning or discussing issues in forums and discussion boards. Devising clear and effective assessment criteria to guide marking of digitally based assignments for both groups and individuals will be vital for staff and for students. Key challenges are exploring questions of equivalence when counting words is not possible, marking an individual’s contribution within a group assignment and identifying key aspects to mark and expressing these with clarity in marking rubrics.

Case studies of three assignments will form a basis from which to investigate. These are an assignment currently being used in the form of a blog (ITT), a new assignment this year based around creating a digital artefact (FDLT) and an assignment that is currently not digital in nature but has the potential to become so.(ECS).


Recent research by JISC (2014) identified a number of recommendations to improve students’ experiences of the digital environment in higher education. Identified below are the three that relate to assessment.


Recommendations Evidence
Recommendations on enhancing the digital learning experience for students
Design learning and assessment activities through which learners’ digital practices can be demonstrated, recognised and progressed Background work: learners need help transferring personal digital know-how to academic study
Design learning and assessment activities which require students to communicate ideas, express views, produce artefacts, analyse data and solve problems using digital technologies Lit review and stakeholder interviews: students tend to be limited in their expectations of digital technology for learning; students rarely use technology for advanced knowledge-related activities unless specifically asked to do so by a tutor
Design learning and assessment tasks in which learners practice choosing appropriate technologies for themselves Stakeholder interviews and student focus group: this is a capacity students and employers expect to be included in the HE experience


(JISC, 2014, p2)

The project will address these recommendations through its activities and outcomes.

Reference List:

HEA (2015) Framework for transforming assessment in higher education. [online] Available from: [Accessed: 21/09/15]

JISC (2014) Students’ expectations and experiences of the digital environment. [online] Available from: [Accessed: 16/09/15]

OECD (2015) Students, Computers and Learning Making the Connection. [online] Available from: [Accessed: 17/09/15]



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