Can online assessment motivate students to engage with the learning process?

Holley, Debbie (2005) Can online assessment motivate students to engage with the learning process? Investigations in university teaching and learning, 2 (2). pp. 83-88. ISSN 1740-5106


It is widely asserted that assessment has a "backwash" effect that shapes students' engagement with a course (e.g. Biggs 1999). However, recent research (by e.g. Oliver and Shaw, 2002) has shown that the introduction of online assessment does not necessarily influence students’ engagement in predictable ways. This may reflect a recent trend in educational research which questions that there is a strong link between assessment and behaviour, arguing instead that the relationship remains complex and poorly understood (e.g. Martin 1999). This paper will argue that online assessment does not have to equate with numerical computer-assisted assessment tasks. An honours level course in International Purchasing is the focus of the development, where ranges of innovative online assessment materials have been established. The move to C&IT through a Virtual Learning Environment of webCT was intended to enhance the learning experience for large groups. The course, accredited by a Professional body featured some complex material which caused both undergraduate and day release students significant difficulties.

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