About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 768-776
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
This paper explores the use of reflective writing as a potential evaluation technique in MOOCs. Reflective writing assignments have been employed in postgraduate courses in international development at RMIT University in Australia and at the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand. In response to student feedback on the assessment, a specific evaluation technique has been developed to improve student performance and engagement in the task. This includes an explicit assignment task outline, a feedback rubric which relates course outcomes to the assessment requirements, and an annotated model of reflective writing in the discipline. These components are designed to support student engagement, and to assist them in gaining and demonstrating insight and understanding of the course content. The feedback also aims to support students in the development of their academic writing.

There are a number of advantages of this type of writing assessment task in MOOCs. Reflection allows students to demonstrate their knowledge and insights on the topic not only to the course coordinators, but also to fellow students. The reflection could take the form of an online blog, allowing students to engage deeply and interactively with the topic. Another positive feature is that it allows the assessment procedure to be made transparent. Students are able to receive feedback from the course coordinators and fellow students and to engage in online discussion. This peer-feedback process helps students to develop their insights and their connection to their learning community and facilitates their contribution to online dialogues in the discipline. For these reasons, academic reflection assignments are becoming common assessment tasks in universities, along with the research reports and essays common in traditional courses (Ashby, 2005). We argue that the advantages of this type of writing assessment are amplified in MOOCs because the task provides increased opportunity for student engagement.
Reflective writing, assessment, MOOC, peer evaluation, student engagement.