Dundee blends CAA and traditional learning with assessment software

Background

Dundee University has selected Questionmark testing and assessment software to enable it to blend its CAA (Computer Aided Assessment) with its traditional teaching and new e-learning systems. It has purchased an institutional license of the software, the first university in Scotland to take this step.

Central Resource

The Questionmark software will work in conjunction with the University’s VLE (virtual learning environment), Blackboard, to deliver assessments and exams to all faculties via a central resource. Questionmark software makes it easy for educators to write, administer and report on assessments, tests, quizzes, exams and surveys using PCs, local area networks, the Internet and intranets.

Easy to Use

Richard Parsons, an academic in the Centre for Learning and Teaching at Dundee University, comments, “Questionmark fits neatly into our learning and teaching strategy and we are encouraging its use as both a support to traditional teaching methods and alongside our new e-learning tools. The software offers an incredible depth of features that people don’t always realise until they get into it. Despite this depth, it still manages to be flexible and easy to use. In my opinion, other products in this field are some years away from competing with Questionmark.”

Running Exams

Dundee University now has the ability to run exams using Questionmark's secure browser facility which Richard Parsons considers to be “excellent”. In fact, the University is able to examine up to 400 students in one session using the new technology.

Guideline for CAA

The Centre for Learning and Teaching has produced a policy and procedure guideline for running assessments which will, ultimately, become the University’s guideline for CAA. This is based upon use of Questionmark as a standard assessment tool. As Richard Parsons says, “Questionmark follows British standards very closely. This strong adherence to industry standards was a compelling reason to buy Questionmark. It meant that we could buy with confidence.”

Assessment Cycle

Dundee University has also developed an online CAA course for lecturers based primarily on Questionmark. This has already been presented to 15 academics who have all rated it highly. It is a five-week online course whereby lecturers interact with each other while learning about the assessment cycle. The course enhances the awareness of the importance of aligning course objectives with use of assessments. A second course will be run in 2003 due to its initial success.