About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6286-6291
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain

THE PLACE OF ‘SURPRISING RESULTS’ IN RESEARCH INTO AN ASSESSMENT DESIGN: USING EPORTFOLIOS FOR EVIDENCE OF INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTION TO GROUP WORK

L. Ellis, E. Roehrer, J.A. Kelder

University of Tasmania (AUSTRALIA)
This paper reports on the most recent stage of an ongoing investigation into the ePortfolio learning technology as a tool in assessment design, specifically group work tasks. The research has investigated ePortfolio as a tool to provide students’ with an enhanced learning experience, scaffold individual learning outcomes and ensure transparent and fair allocation of grades to students. ePortfolio technology is an important pedagogical tool in teaching practice, supporting students’ critical self reflection and ability to demonstrate individual learning outcomes.

Analysis of feedback from a 2011 undergraduate cohort of students indicated students had negative opinions on a requirement to learn and use unfamiliar ePortfolio software for an assessment task in the unit. In 2012, the university adopted a new Learning Management System (LMS) with ePortfolio functionality. The researchers investigated whether student perceptions of ePortfolio software that is embedded within UTAS’s new LMS would be positive in comparison to the 2011 cohort’s experiences of group assessment tasks incorporating ePortfolio software that was separate to and accessed outside LMS. The hypothesis was that the use of an ePortfolio tool, embedded in the familiar LMS system, would reduce students’ cognitive load and result in students perceiving the benefits of increased transparency in individual contributions to group work, even in the case where ePortfolio is a small component of the assessable task.

The research was conducted for the same unit in which students identified the issues. However, in 2012 this particular unit was taught to offshore students located in Shanghai; the 2011 cohort was domestic. The unit was modified for offshore delivery mode however the lecturer and the assessment design was the same. Surprisingly the issues identified previously were not present in the offshore unit.

This caused the researchers to reflect on a key difference between Australian students and students studying in China. Chinese education is grounded in the teachings of Confucius while Western education is grounded in the teachings of Socrates (Kingston and Forland, 2008). In addition Hofstede’s Power Distance dimension identifies that Chinese students are inclined to a collectivist approach to learning while Western students are more aligned to individualism (Hofstede, 1980).

The tentative explanation for the outcome is ‘cultural difference’. Chinese belong to a group culture therefore the premise of the assessment design – that students would value individual marks, with transparency and fairness, was not supported by evidence from student feedback. The impetus for our research was (largely western educated) students complaining about unfairness inherent in group marks for group work when individuals contributed differently. In applying our solution to students with a different perspective we discovered that Chinese students offshore demanded to be treated equally within a group regardless of individual contribution. The paper concludes with an overview of the research as it has developed over three years and highlights the benefits of a critically reflective approach to interpreting data that interrogates assumptions when faced with ‘surprising’ results.
@InProceedings{ELLIS2013PLA,
author = {Ellis, L. and Roehrer, E. and Kelder, J.A.},
title = {THE PLACE OF ‘SURPRISING RESULTS’ IN RESEARCH INTO AN ASSESSMENT DESIGN: USING EPORTFOLIOS FOR EVIDENCE OF INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTION TO GROUP WORK},
series = {5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN13 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-3822-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {1-3 July, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {6286-6291}}
TY - CONF
AU - L. Ellis AU - E. Roehrer AU - J.A. Kelder
TI - THE PLACE OF ‘SURPRISING RESULTS’ IN RESEARCH INTO AN ASSESSMENT DESIGN: USING EPORTFOLIOS FOR EVIDENCE OF INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTION TO GROUP WORK
SN - 978-84-616-3822-2/2340-1117
PY - 2013
Y1 - 1-3 July, 2013
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN13 Proceedings
SP - 6286
EP - 6291
ER -
L. Ellis, E. Roehrer, J.A. Kelder (2013) THE PLACE OF ‘SURPRISING RESULTS’ IN RESEARCH INTO AN ASSESSMENT DESIGN: USING EPORTFOLIOS FOR EVIDENCE OF INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTION TO GROUP WORK, EDULEARN13 Proceedings, pp. 6286-6291.
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