C. Lowery, S. Bamforth

Loughborough University (UNITED KINGDOM)
Technology in education can be used in a variety of different ways. The most obvious is its direct application to help facilitate learning. However, technology can also be used in more subtle ways to benefit student learning and to ease the burden on academics and staff so that they in turn are able to spend more time interacting with students. The Engineering Schools at Loughborough University approached the Centre of Engineering and Design Education (CEDE), looking to the Centre, with its blend of pedagogy and technology skills to unpick and resolve the issues that the Schools were facing with regard to assessing students. With myriad modules on multiple programmes, live oversight of the assessment demands on students was difficult to achieve with the Schools’ existing practices; the potential for over burdening students due to assessment bunching was a real issue. There were also practical issues of managing coursework hand in and return for large numbers of students.

Working in close collaboration with the Engineering Schools CEDE has developed, piloted and rolled out CASPA, a Coursework and Assessment Scheduler for Programme Administration. This paper describes CASPA and shares the key findings of a study, undertaken by CEDE into CASPA’s reception and impact on students and administrators and how they would like to see CASPA enhanced. Research was undertaken with administrative staff in the form of focused discussions and an online questionnaire survey. Student views have been provided using a paper based questionnaire survey of 88 students. The key findings of the research are presented in this paper, including the findings that students value the reassurance that CASPA gives by keeping a record of assessment submissions and work returned whilst providing a centralised place for their assessment deadlines to help them keep track of their schedules and organise their work. The introduction of CASPA has had a huge impact on the demands of administrators time, greatly reducing the time needed to receive and return coursework. With this freed up time it has been possible for Schools to make greater use of their administrators for the benefit of the students. One school in particular has introduced feedback quality monitoring into the coursework return process. Having trained the administrators in the level and quality of feedback to students, administrators are now able to monitor and flag any issues in feedback quality.