Week 32: End-of-module assessment question (EMA)

Length: 6,000 words. Cut-off date 23 September 2013

Welcome to the final step in H800. We’ve designed it to enable you to consolidate and reflect on your experience this year, and to pursue your interests within a specified framework. Some of you may feel, initially at least, that the framework is over-specified, but in previous years it has resulted in some really excellent work and has ensured that everyone has support with this lengthy writing task.

Like your TMAs, the EMA will be marked by your tutor. It will also be marked by a second marker, who will not know the person whose EMA s/he is marking or what mark the first tutor gave. The table on the first page of the Assignment Guide (see H800 home page, right-hand side) shows how the EMA contributes to your overall grade for H800.

Before you start, be sure to take into account your tutor’s comments and advice on your TMA03. And at the back of your EMA, as an appendix that does not count towards the word limit, include his or her PT3/Assessment Summary from TMA03 (i.e. include your tutor’s comments, not your actual TMA03 script).

Please do read ‘Important notes on the EMA’ – not least, the first bullet-point about the strict overall limit of 6,000 words. We’ve written those notes to help you with your EMA.

EMA, Part A. Digital technologies: experience and evidence (about 2,500 words)

Choose two digital technologies that you have used this year as a learner. As usual on H800, you may interpret ‘learner’ broadly to include engagement in formal, informal or non-formal learning. You can choose two of the technologies you used on H800, or two you have used outside H800, or one of each. Note that ‘VLE’ is too broad to count as one technology; however, a technology within a VLE could count as one. Similarly, ‘Web 2.0’ and ‘social media’ are too broad, as are ‘PLE’, ‘smartphones’ and ‘mobile learning’. And rather than focusing on the minutiae of specific tools or interfaces, relate your arguments to the underlying technology; for example, if you choose Elluminate, include points about synchronous web-based audio- and video-conferencing generally. If you have doubts about whether your choice of technologies is appropriate, please consult your tutor.

For each technology that you choose, explain how it has been used for teaching and learning, and what you judge to be the strengths and weaknesses of such use(s) in contexts that you specify. For each technology, support your arguments by providing evidence from all of the following three sources:

  1. Your own experience of the technology within and/or outside H800 and, if possible, the personal experience of other learners – for example, H800 students, or others outside H800. Include examples and, where appropriate, brief quotations to illustrate your own and others’ experiences.
  2. Other people’s ideas, arguments and research findings in the H800 materials – the web pages on the website and/or materials (readings, blogs, YouTube, webcasts and so on) linked from the site.
  3. Relevant ideas, arguments and research findings from outside the H800 website; this can be material that you have found yourself, or that you have shared with other learners inside and/or outside H800.

In addition, for at least one of your two technologies, provide:

  • Brief numerical evidence – for example, of the kind that is explored in the first paper in TMA04 – from within or from outside H800 to back up your arguments. (If you can’t find any evidence that relates directly to the technology, draw on numerical evidence about a similar technology and explain how it might support your arguments.)

EMA, Part B. Digital technologies: your recommendations (about 1,250 words)

In Part B you give your recommendations, your confidence rating for each recommendation, and your ideas for further research.

Your recommendations

For each of the two technologies you have chosen, set out your key recommendations for other practitioners in terms of how you advise them to use each technology for teaching.

For each of your recommendations, explain what evidence you are drawing on to support it. This evidence could be your experience as a learner and/or practitioner, evidence from fellow students, evidence from the sources you’ve read inside H800, evidence from sources you’ve found outside H800. In addition, provide brief numerical evidence (for example, of the kind that is explored in the first paper in TMA04) to support at least one of your recommendations in Part B.

For each technology, aim to draw on a wide range of evidence, not just your personal experience, in order to support your recommendations. This may be difficult if one or both of your technologies is very new; in that case, try to draw on relevant evidence about a similar (perhaps slightly older) technology.

Your confidence ratings

After each recommendation, state your level of confidence (‘high’, ‘medium’ or ‘low’) for that specific recommendation:

  • ‘Medium’  If you have found that your own experience, and the experience of other learners, and evidence from inside and outside H800, all support that recommendation, you can probably give that recommendation at least a ‘medium’ confidence rating.
  • ‘High’  And if that evidence from inside/outside H800 is also
    • a.published in reputable sources,and
    • b.based on a study of large numbers of learners in a context similar to the one you are discussing,

    you can probably give that recommendation a ‘high’ confidence rating.

  • ‘Low’  But if you have found conflicting evidence, you would probably give that recommendation a ‘medium’ or ‘low’ rating. A ‘low’ rating does not mean that your work is poor: it could mean that you have skilfully researched the evidence, found that it is conflicting, and come to a valuable understanding about the complexities of using that technology for teaching.

Make sure you specify the context(s) you are referring to: a recommendation that is suitable for teaching online Masters students may be unsuitable for teaching 18-year-olds on a module that is largely face to face.

Ideas for further research

For each technology, state the areas where you consider additional research is needed into the ways in which that technology can be used. What research would you like to see – to answer questions that you have, or to fill gaps or conflicting evidence that you have noticed in reports, blogs and papers? And are there specific, novel uses of the technology that might warrant further exploration?

This completes Part B.

EMA, Part C. Digital technologies: your design or specification (about 1,250 words)

For one of the technologies that you wrote about in Parts A and B:

  • Design a learning activity, or create a specification for a module or training package, that uses this technology.
  • Explain: the characteristics of the learners; their previous knowledge (as far as you can tell) both of the technology and of any subject matter; the context(s) in which they will be learning; and how (if at all) others will support these learners. The context does not have to be the one(s) you wrote about in Parts A or B.
  • Explain any potential barriers your learners may face – including cost, accessibility for students with disabilities, issues of cultural diversity and convenience. Explain how your design or specification takes these into account.
  • Set out the learning outcomes that you expect the learners to have achieved by the end of the module/package. Learning outcomes should generally be phrased as students learning how to do something (‘demonstrate’, ‘locate’, ‘compare’, ‘describe’, etc.). H800’s outcomes[Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]  will give you an idea of this. If you’d like further guidance, it’s worth searching the web; for example, Macquarie University’s Learning and Teaching Centre has useful material.
  • Explain your reasons for your design or specification, drawing on the bullet points above and on your thinking in Parts A and B.
  • Do not submit the learning material itself; instead, tell your reader what the activity consists of: you may provide a written description, sample text, screenshots, etc. You may use one of the tools introduced in Weeks 8/9, or another tool of your choice, to clarify your design. (If you take this route, you may insert the diagram in your main text or – cross-referenced – in the Appendix.) But you can also use text, provided that this will enable the markers to understand what you intend.

EMA, Part D. Digital technologies: individual and collaborative learning (about 1,000 words)

As your conclusion to your EMA and to your work on H800, think back across your experience of H800 and give your answer to the following:

  • To what extent do you find the concepts of ‘individual’ and ‘collaborative’ learning useful in understanding your experience of learning this year – whether on H800 or elsewhere?

Give brief examples to illustrate your experience, and draw on some of the debates and theories in H800 to explain your position (for example, the work of Sfard, Brown, Engeström, Wenger, Säljö).

Important notes on the EMA

  • You must stick to the overall EMA limit of 6,000 words (not counting your References and Appendix). If your EMA script is overlength, marks will be deducted and – as has happened in the past – this may result in a Fail grade. If you are finding it difficult to reduce your draft, you may find it useful to re-read it with two specific questions in mind:
    • a.Is this section/paragraph really relevant to the question and criteria for that section?
    • b.If so, can I reduce the text to make my argument clearer and sharper?
  • You’ll notice that, for each of the four parts A–D, we have specified the approximate number of words: for example, the number for Part A is ‘about 2,500 words’. By saying ‘about’, we mean that one section can be a little overlength, provided another section is a little underlength by at least the same amount. However, your total for the four parts must not exceed 6,000 words.
  • As an Appendix, paste in your tutor’s comments on your TMA03: i.e. paste in the PT3/Assessment Summary (but please don’t include your TMA03 script). This will enable the second marker to check that your choice of two technologies was agreed by your tutor, and to see what other advice s/he gave you. This appendix will not count against your word limit.
  • For Part A, Source 1: in previous years some students have used the ‘General Discussion’ forum to get feedback on their proposed technologies, and to run small and quick online surveys to discover other H800 students’ experience of these.
  • For Part A, Source 3: what do we mean by materials ‘from outside the H800 website’? This can include ‘Ideas for further reading’ and other sources that you follow from the website. But, in addition, draw on at least four relevant resources that are not on the H800 website, and that were published this year or last. You may have shared these with other students, or found them through your own searching (as practised in Week 10a, Week 18 and at other times). At least one of these should be a blog (not your own but it can be another student’s), and at least one should be a journal paper (not your own).
  • For Part D: you may include the technologies you explored in Parts A–C but, if possible, draw on your experience of other technologies too.
  • For all parts of the EMA: do not submit material that you have submitted for TMAs 01, 02 and 04 on H800, or for TMAs or ECAs/EMAs on other modules or programmes (for example, H807, H809 or H810). Where you explore an area in your EMA that you have already explored elsewhere, including in an H800 TMA, it’s important that you develop your argument and draw on a wider range of material so that it is effectively a new piece of work. If in doubt, consult your tutor. You are encouraged, of course, to re-use and re-submit material from your H800 TMA03.
  • As with all the assignments, fully acknowledge all material that you draw on or quote from, whether from inside or outside H800: follow the Assignment Guide on avoiding plagiarism, and on referencing. Use quotation marks for all material that you quote, even if you also indent the quotation because it is lengthy. In previous years the plagiarism software has detected cases of plagiarism on H800 as well as instances where the student has acknowledged the source but omitted the quotation marks. This has caused considerable delay in giving the student their result and, in some cases, also led to significant downgrading of the final score.
  • When you quote a fellow student’s forum post(s) in your H800 EMA, you do not need his or her permission. However, you would need permission if you proposed to quote it elsewhere – for example, outside the H800 website, or in your blog, or in any external source (for example, a report or journal paper). In such cases, you would normally quote it anonymously and would omit any text that might identify the poster (such as the name of his/her employer).
  • In your essay you are encouraged to insert one or two screenshots, diagrams or other images that support your argument, provided that these do not make your TMA file bigger than 20Mb in total. Give each image a caption, and also refer to it in the body of your essay so that the two markers can see which part of your argument it supports. If you use other people’s screenshots, diagrams, etc. you will need to acknowledge the source/rights-holder; please don’t crop an image so as to undermine the creator’s original intention, nor remove a copyright symbol watermark from an image.
  • Make sure you have re-read your tutor’s PT3/Assessment Summary and in-text comments and advice on your TMAs, including TMA03, before you start writing your EMA. If you can’t get the in-text comments to print out, ask your group – someone may have met/solved the same problem by choosing different print options (for example, in Word 2003, print ‘Document showing markup’).

How to structure your EMA

As with all your H800 assignments, put your name and personal identifier (PI) in the running header for your document.

Use the four-part structure of the EMA to provide your four main headings. Within that, please use subheadings of your choice.

Then insert a ‘References’ section providing a single list of the sources you have referred to or quoted from. Set out your list according to the instructions in the Assignment Guide. As with all the tutor-marked assignments on H800, your References list does not count towards the word limit of your EMA.

Finally, as an appendix that will not count towards the word limit, paste in the PT3/Assessment Summary showing your tutor’s comments and advice on your TMA03. Please don’t paste in your TMA03 script itself.

Assessment criteria for the EMA

The markers will use the following criteria to grade your work on the EMA, allocating marks out of 100 in the proportions shown here:

  1. Part A: your selection of a wide range of appropriate evidence, and your use of this evidence to make convincing points about the strengths and weaknesses of particular uses in specified contexts (40 marks).
  2. Part B: your explanations of the reasons for each of your recommendations, and – for each recommendation – your insights into how the various pieces of evidence support, modify or contradict each other; and the relevance of your ideas for future research (20 marks).
  3. Part C: the creativity of your learning activity or specification, its appropriateness for the learners, learning outcomes, context, etc., and the strength of the connections you make between the features of your learning activity or specification and your key points in Parts A and B (20 marks).
  4. Part D: your insights into the complexities of ‘individual’ and ‘collaborative’ learning; and your use of selected examples from your own experience, and of debates and ideas in the module, to illustrate your understanding (10 marks).
  5. Across the complete EMA: your written presentation; and your use of the author/date referencing system. Criterion 5 covers your inclusion of the TMA03 Assessment Summary as an appendix, clarity of expression, accuracy of grammar and spelling (please use your spell-checker, set to UK English), use of headings to enable the markers to see the structure easily, use of illustrations (captioned and referred to in the text), and your accurate use of the author/date referencing system. As usual on H800, this last point relates to whether you have used the author/date system accurately, not to whether you have made a good selection of resources (10 marks).

The following table provides an indication of the standards associated with Distinction, Pass and Fail marks for each of the five criteria.

Criterion Distinction Pass Fail
1. Part A: your selection and use of evidence Use of wide range of evidence from all four areas, including at least four sources you have found outside H800. Very convincing use of argument and evidence to illustrate strengths and weaknesses in particular contexts. Use of reasonably wide range of evidence, including fewer than four sources you have found outside H800. Reasonably convincing use of argument and evidence to illustrate strengths and weaknesses in particular contexts. Very limited evidence; few or no sources that you have found for yourself. Unconvincing or little use of argument and evidence to illustrate strengths and weaknesses in particular contexts.
2. Part B: recommendations, evidence, research ideas Lucid recommendations, appropriately rated ‘high’, ‘medium’ or ‘low’, with excellent insights into contributions of a wide range of evidence; very relevant ideas for research. Fairly clear recommendations and/or reasonably good insights into contributions of a wide range of evidence; reasonably relevant ideas for research. Few or muddled recommendations, with few or no insights into contributions of evidence; few or no ideas for research.
3. Part C: creativity, appropriateness and connections Creative ideas, very clearly explained and convincingly linked to context and informed by Parts A and B. Creative ideas, reasonably clearly explained and linked to context and informed by Parts A and B. Few ideas; and/or ideas that are hard to understand, with little or no link to context(s), and not informed by Parts A and B.
4. Part D: Conclusion Strong insights into complexity of these concepts; excellent integration between examples of personal experience, selected material from the module, and exploration of these concepts. Reasonably strong insights into complexity of these concepts; good integration between examples of personal experience, selected material from the module, and exploration of these concepts. Few or simplistic insights into these concepts; little or no use of examples and/or materials to explore these concepts.
5. Written presentation & author/date referencing system Inclusion of TMA03 Assessment Summary; clear writing; accurate grammar and spelling; headings that enable your reader to see very clearly and easily the structure of your EMA; one or two highly relevant images, captioned and referred to in your text.Accurate following of the referencing conventions as specified in the H800 Assignment Guide. Inclusion of TMA03 Assessment Summary; fairly clear writing; mostly accurate grammar and spelling; headings that enable your reader to see reasonably clearly and easily the structure of your EMA; moderately relevant images (or no images), not captioned and not referred to in the text.Partial following of the specified referencing conventions. Omission of TMA03 Assessment Summary; writing that is hard to understand; a significant number of errors of grammar and spelling; no use of headings, or headings that do not help the reader; irrelevant images (or no images), not captioned and not referred to in the text.Largely or wholly inaccurate use of the specified referencing conventions; and/or using a different referencing system.