November 07, 2005

Just Cause Or Impediment?

If computer-aided assessment (CAA) means getting students to do their assignments and take their exams in front of computers, then there's precious little of it happening in the Warwick Science Faculty at the moment.

Why might this be? What are the barriers? The bottom line is the attitude of the person at the chalk face. Here are 12 uncomfortable questions a lecturer might (indeed should) ask before moving to CAA:

  1. How much extra time will it take?
  2. Will my department release me from other duties to compensate?
  3. How risky is it? How easy to get wrong?
  4. Do I have the skills to handle the technology and delivery?
  5. What support will I get?
  6. Will it improve student learning?
  7. Will students dislike it and protest?
  8. How secure it? Is cheating a problem if I use it for module credit (in summative mode)?
  9. Will it save time and money and make my job easier in the longer term?
  10. Will my efforts, even if they succeed, be recognised when it comes to promotion?
  11. Would I be professionally better off spending my time on research?
  12. Will it be abandoned when I stop teaching the module?

Your answers welcome.

- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. The biggest unanswered question is, in my opinion:

    "Why Bother?"

    Firstly, it seems to me that CAA software is not suited to the sorts of questions that might be asked of undergraduates, except in some very limited examples.

    Given the amount of time and effort that it takes to develop a usable and useful CAA scheme, there need to be clear benefits before it's sensible to start work on one – and those benefits are currently not clear to me.

    07 Nov 2005, 14:45

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