In describing the various forms of learning capable through technology, a variety of terms are evident in the literature, including web-based learning, e-learning, computer-mediated communication (CMC), online instruction, distributed learning and distance learning. Such practice is also true of assessment involving the use technology, with several terms used interchangeably: online assessment, e-assessment, computer-based assessment, and computer-mediated assessment, to name but a few. Drawing on the findings from an institutional ethnographic (Smith 2005) study conducted for my own PhD research into electronic assessment (e-assessment) practices in HE, this presentation focuses on one aspect of the research; how the term ‘e-assessment’ is defined by those involved in its design and implementation. Starting with identifying participant understandings of what e-assessment means to them, this presentation will draw on the findings from the research, detailing how various stakeholders identify with e-assessment, exposing how the variation in definitions between stakeholders is a practice that is consistent with the literature, and the challenges this poses for higher education policy and practice. I will also explore a number of recommendations in an attempt to address this variation in understanding, which is particularly crucial in educational literature, where it is often commonplace to see technology, and e-assessment practices in a variety of contexts, referred to using a variety of terms, or, more worryingly, defined differently when discussing particular aspects (Gikandi et al. 2011; Timmis et al. 2016).
Clarke-Midura, J. & Dede, C., 2010. Assessment, Technology, and Change. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(3), pp.309–328.
Gikandi, J.W., Morrow, D. & Davis, N.E., 2011. Online formative assessment in higher education: A review of the literature. Computers and Education, 57(4), pp.2333–2351. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2011.06.004.
Pellegrino, J.W. & Quellmalz, E.S., 2010. Perspectives on the Integration of Technology and Assessment. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 43(2), pp.119–134. Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15391523.2010.10782565 [Accessed November 3, 2016].
Sharpe, R., Benfield, G. & Francis, R., 2006. Implementing a university e-learning strategy: levers for change within academic schools. Research in Learning Technology, 14(2). Available at: http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/10952 [Accessed August 15, 2016].
Smith, D.E., 2005. Institutional Ethnography: A Sociology for People, Toronto: AltaMira Press.
Timmis, S. et al., 2016. Rethinking assessment in a digital age: opportunities, challenges and risks. British Educational Research Journal, 42(3), pp.454–476. Available at: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/berj.3215 [Accessed November 3, 2016].