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“Presentation light and discussion heavy”


What problems were being addressed?

  • Staff and students’ digital literacy
  • Embedding digital assessment across programmes and within schools

Who was involved?

The EDTL Team at DCU consisted of Project Co-Leads, Suzanne Stone and Rob Lowney, who were based in the Teaching Enhancement Unit. They worked with the student interns, Laura Anne Scanlon and Sinéad Mooney.

Why did you choose to address the challenges this way?

  • Workshops would provide space for theory, group work and practical exercises
  • A series of workshops would establish consistency
  • The option to choose specific workshops would ensure staffs’ digital assessment needs were met

How were the goals achieved?

In the academic world, there is no way of escaping assessment – but there is always room for improvement, especially when technology has provided an abundance of options and possibilities. It is the reason why the DCU EDTL Team decided to focus on the topic.

At DCU, there had been a number of assessment workshops that ran when there was a demand for them. They were one-off events and hosted in person. The DCU EDTL Team wanted to consolidate this work by creating a suite of workshops that would upskill staff by assessing and addressing their digital skills and needs.

The DCU EDTL Team wanted to create awareness around the multitude of digital
assessment methods, while also encouraging staff to begin thinking of how their assessments could develop the students’ digital skills. If they were successful, they would have effectively enhanced the digital skills of both staff and students.

The first step was compiling the 11 workshops that would be offered to staff. Here they are:

  • Introducing flexibility in technology-enhanced assessment
  • Transforming assessment with learning portfolios
  • Mobile-enabled formative assessment
  • Group work and group assessment
  • Peer review and peer assessment
  • Student feedback workshop
  • Fundamentals of technology-enhanced assessment
  • Loop and assessment : the basics
  • Loop and assessment : advanced
  • Creating consistency and transparency in technology-enhanced assessment
  • Learning Design for Blended learning

Once the DCU EDTL Team had designed their workshops, they contacted the School of Psychology and the Institute of Education. They asked the staff to select three workshops that targeted their interests and needs. Then, the team planned a preliminary meeting with the staff who registered and discussed their digital abilities, as well as their ideas for future assessments.

Small group of university students working on computer in a library. Young people finding information for their college assignment.

The workshops were generally two hours long. The DCU EDTL Team did not want to overload the attendees, so they introduced some theory and practical learning activities, before giving the group a chance to reflect on their experiences and how the workshop could elevate their digital skills, along with their students.

It was important for the team to include the European Framework for the Digital Competence of Educators (DigiCompEdu). They understood the commitment staff had to make and wanted to ensure the workshops were providing information that was useful.

The DCU EDTL Team also wanted to establish a consistent level of skill amongst staff, which was hugely aided by the conversations they encouraged and the group work they organised. And by the end of the first series of assessment workshops, it was clear from the staffs’ feedback that the team had achieved their goal, as when Covid hit and classes moved online, those who attended the workshops were ready to assess their students digitally.

Key points for continued success:

  • Develop plans for attendees to implement the lessons learned
  • Follow up on attendee’s progress
  • Gather case studies

Throughout Covid, the assessment workshops ran online. There were requests for extra workshops, such as peer assessment. The DCU EDTL Team met the staffs’ needs and the course evolved alongside the staffs’ digital skills

Interesting Tip*:

The DCU EDTL Team wanted to include a form of self-assessment and after discovering that staff were struggling to complete the DigComp Self-Assessment, they decided to try something different and adapted an idea created by colleagues in the UK (Shri Footring and Scott Hibberson) called Digital Pursuit1 – a play on Trivial Pursuit, based on a Digital Pursuit. It gave the team an insight into the staffs’ digital capabilities, while building the staffs’ confidence and their unity as a group.

“The DCU EDTL Team wanted to create awareness around the multitude of digital assessment methods”