Measuring the measurable

In October 2009, 23 years after my undergraduate exploits, it wasn’t so much that I was rusty as a student, it was more that I was completely clueless about what was expected at this level. (Software Engineering circa 1986 made no demands on essay writing, research or referencing.)

A simple way to work out whether anything’s changed as a result of feedback would be to plot scores over time.  (On H810 a good bit of learning went on on the basics.)


I do pickup and read feedback, but I haven’t been disciplined about saving the handy zip files, so can only really find a couple of bits of tutor feedback from early H810 exploits. Common themes were:

  • Be more critical
  • Use and cite more sources
    (it was a surprise that you had to do this even when what you were saying was blindingly obvious)
  • Write a conclusion
  • Keep an eye on the question

This was all practical stuff which led to a much better EMA.  Since then I’ve bumbled along at more or less the same level and haven’t used much that has been written in feedback as feed-forward.  

[As and aside, I did hear of an interesting piece of practice, to award students a couple of marks for prefixing their assessment with a few sentences about how they had incorporated prior feedback into their report. ]

But, the scores on the doors, and summative tutor feedback are just one aspect of MAODE-journey-to-date.  With the exception of our recent groupwork adventure TMA/EMAs are focussed on deliverables, what they don’t fully address are some of the inner value/behaviours associated with being  an learning-open-networked-professional.  For me these have been things I have started to catch on the journey:

  • The development of online (and open) learner literacies (thanks #h817open)
  • Managing academic reading (great tips from fellow student Priya)
  • Critically assessing research findings (one of our H800 cohort, Adam, was a genius in this area)

Lots of thinking aloud here.  What am I actually saying?  On MAODE the majority of easily identifiable tutor feedback is around summative, and clearly this helps a bit with the hoop jumping of getting a better mark in the TMAs.  However, the most valuable feedback to me as student is that which is in module, on-task. As is fitting in a learning environment with social-constructivist leanings this useful feedback could be either tutor-student or student-student.

NB: My use of the term “hoop jumping” is considered. It’s a reflection on my perception of the gap between the my outputs of day to day job and those of of MAODE.

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