Edge Hill’s approach to eAssignment is to offer a number of flexible tools and not tie departments down to any one method. After considering the choices available to them, each Faculty has gone with their preferred method of assignment submission.
Learning Edge currently has 3 tools: Blackboard Assignment, Assignment Handler and Turnitin.
Nigel Richardson (Head of Geography) explains the direction Geography has taken and why Assignment Handler was the right choice for their students and staff.
“Introducing electronic submission to the programme was prompted by an institutional strategy aimed at enhancing the student experience and accommodating their changing expectations. Our students were increasingly submitting assignments to us via email, rather than traveling to University to submit their work and the student feedback was also indicating some difficulties in reading staff feedback (handwriting) on assignments. Taking all of this into account, it seemed the right time to move to online submission.
We listened to the advice of the Learning Technology Officers on the various options available, before deciding on Assignment Handler. Initially staff had mixed feelings – some were extremely positive and others were apprehensive. The technology and the processes were new, and primary concerns centered on the impact that Assignment Handler would have on them, such as how long it would take to learn how to mark assignments and become proficient in doing so.”
Staff have since had training with Assignment Handler – All aspects including uploading assignments; downloading submissions; uploading feedback; general file handing e.g. use of zip files etc.
Students training included; how to access assignment details, submit an assignment; where to find feedback and marks.
It has been more than 12 months since Geography began on their eAssignment journey, so we asked Nigel to give us an update on the latest impression of both staff and students and how things have gone since implementation;
Generally staff are positive having gained experience of using Assignment Handler and some of the advantages of providing feedback electronically. Staff have a few concerns/queries but those are largely operational things rather than an issue with online submission and feedback. This is part of the natural course of improving what we do. The department will aim to review our processes before the start of the next academic year.
For the Student, as noted above, there are advantages with flexibility of submission and also being able to read staff feedback. Also students can receive feedback and marks at any time of the day rather than waiting until the next module session for assignments to be handed out.
Geography have embraced Assignment Handler as their preferred method of assignment submission for their students and will continue to push the boundaries in terms of the way forward ensuring their students have the best possible experience.
Nigel added some advice for other colleagues deciding on the right assignment tool;
- Ensure that it is user friendly both for students and staff.
- Ensure that it can handle the types of coursework assignment you use, and submissions that you expect from students.
- Think about how you are going to handle large numbers of files e.g. sending samples to external examiners; management and archiving of the files.
Learning Technology Development