eAssessment at the Open University with open source software

At the ALT-C 2010 conference, I attended the session of Sally Jordan of the Open University. The Open University have developed a versatile open source assessment system with an emphasis in interactivity and feedback. The system looks really good and it even is geared towards automatic scoring op short-answer texts.

OpenMark is an Open University computer-assisted assessment (CAA) system that has its foundations in computer-assisted learning. It had existed in various guises for almost a decade prior to the arrival of Moodle and it had been designed by OU staff for use in the OU’s open learning model. It differs from traditional CAA systems in:

  • The emphasis we place on feedback. All Open University students are distance learners and within the university we emphasise the importance of giving feedback on written assessments. The design of OpenMark assumes that feedback, perhaps at multiple levels, will be included.
  • Allowing multiple attempts. OpenMark is an interactive system, and consequently we can ask students to act on feedback that we give ‘there and then’, while the problem is still in their mind. If their first answer is incorrect, they can have an immediate second, or third, attempt.
  • The breadth of interactions supported. We aim to use the full capabilities of modern multimedia computers to create engaging assessments.
  • We do not hide the computer. Instead we harness the computing power available to us to enrich the learning process
  • The design for anywhere, anytime use. OpenMark assessments are designed to enable students to complete them in their own time in a manner that fits with normal life. They can be interrupted at any point and resumed later from the same location or from elsewhere on the internet.

Click on the link below for more information.

http://www8.open.ac.uk/opencetl/centre-open-learning-mathematics-science-computing-and-technology/activities-projects/assessment/overview-and-review-the-icma-in

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