1c) Supporting the deployment of learning technologies
Statements about your involvement in supporting the deployment of learning technology might relate to providing technical and/or pedagogic support to teachers or learners, advising on (or redesigning to take account of) technical and usability issues, developing strategies or policies, managing change, providing training or other forms of professional development, securing or deploying dedicated funding and so on, all within the context of the educational use of learning technology. For evidence, you might include the overview section of a strategy document, meeting minutes, summaries of student feedback, testimonials or witness statements from other colleagues.
A good example of how I have supported the deployment of learning technologies is by working with a small team of colleagues – led by the Head of Learning & Teaching Development Rachel Maxwell, to investigate how using rubrics can help align student feedback to learning outcomes.
With my assistance, this was implemented in the Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) and all academics are now required to provide feedback using rubrics.
To support the use of rubrics I have:
- Researched both Turnitin and Blackboard rubrics for grading.
- Evaluated the use of different Rubrics with colleagues.
- Consulted on a workflow for all FBL assessments using Rubrics.
- Created and overseen the deployment of Blackboard templates rubrics in all sites for this academic year.
- Worked with colleagues on the deployment of site-wide Turnitin rubric templates.
- Provided group training sessions to FBL staff on the use of Blackboard templates.
- Designed training videos on the use of Blackboard rubrics to grade all assignments.
- Provided one-to-one support with all faculty staff with design, deployment and marking of rubrics.
- Amended training based on technical errors found with Blackboard rubrics.
Prior to this project, academics in my faculty graded student work in different ways. Some had adopted a workflow of marking all assessments directly in the Blackboard grade centre, whereas others graded inside Turnitin.
At the request of the faculty managers, I was asked to standardise the feedback method to align all feedback to Learning Outcomes using rubrics.
Having investigated the use of both Turnitin and Blackboard rubrics, I identified the benefits of Blackboard rubrics as, being more visible for students in the ‘Feedback and Grades’ area of Blackboard, easier to share between academic staff, more granular and flexible for grading and the only rubric method which could be used for all assessment types.
I, therefore, suggested that the faculty staff build upon the existing workflow of marking in the grade centre and use Blackboard rubrics to grade all work including Turnitin assignments.
To support this, I ran two-hour training sessions with faculty subject teams and produced online guides demonstrating the four stages of using Blackboard rubrics creation, deployment, grading and student experience. The new rubric guidance was shared via our FAQ platform AskUs.
Feelings – what were you thinking and feeling?
When asked to standardise the practice of grading using rubrics in my faculty I was concerned that this may be unpopular with academics who had established different workflows for providing feedback. I therefore at the beginning thought this would be a difficult project that would require a lot of time to implement.
Evaluation – What was good and what was bad about the experience.
A key reason for the success of this project was the desire by faculty managers and the head of learning and teaching development to standardise feedback methods by adopting the use of rubrics. Without this I do not believe a large scale faculty change such as this would have been possible.
One negative was that during the year I discovered two technical problems with using Blackboard rubrics when grading in the grade centre.
The workflow of grading Turnitin work directly in the Blackboard grade centre rather than in the Turnitin file was a workflow which was adopted within the faculty of business and law before I was appointed to be their Learning Technologist, Adding Blackboard rubrics added one technical issue, but it also identified another underlying problem that had previously not been identified.
By identifying and resolving these problems and advising they adopt a different workflows I have helped staff to move to a more robust and reliable method of recording their student grades.
Analysis – What sense can you make of the situation
The key positive impact of this project was that staff designed new rubrics which mapped their learning outcomes to their assessments.
Changing the rubric type from Blackboard to Turnitin has been relatively easy as staff had already completed the more difficult task of designing their rubrics and understood the underlying concept.
Conclusion – What else could you have done?
In hindsight it would have been best to run a pilot of using rubrics with staff rather than instigate a full faculty change.
Action Plan – If it arose again what would I do?
At the beginning this project I accepted the requirement for one ‘consistent’ method of using rubrics across all assessments and built upon an unusual workflow. If I was to start this project again I would seek to establish a team of stakeholders to consider this request more robustly and would be more cautious of building upon existing workflows that initially seemed not to be the obvious solution.
Interview with head of FBL Post Graduate Studies Angela Rushton on faculty adoption of rubrics for feedback.
Rachel Maxwell - Head of Learning and Teaching Development: Policy and Practice
Following the University review of assessment, I worked with Richard to help implement the final stage of the process – marking to learning outcomes and supporting staff to use technology to do this effectively.
The Faculty of Business and Law decided to adopt one approach for the whole Faculty – the use of a detailed rubric that matched the grade criteria to the specifics of the learning outcome (or an aspect of a learning outcome).
Richard was able to work with the policy requirements and translate them into practice in such a way as to realise the objective. His approach was also transferable to colleagues in other Faculties as he developed a University-wide template rubric for marking to learning outcomes that has now been built into the template NILE sites for the coming year, across the institution.