P. Sudicky, L. Juhanak, L. Belanova, F. Benco

Masaryk University (CZECH REPUBLIC)
Over the last two decades, e-learning tools and methodologies have affected most study fields and areas, altering a number of educational practices of both teachers and students. Following its wide diffusion, however, it has become evident that any general concept of technology-enhanced education is rather insufficient and that there is a growing need for field-specific e-learning approaches - in sciences as well as humanities - which would support and boost the development of field-specific skills and abilities.

In humanities, one of such core skills concerns the ability to produce well-structured, clear and effective academic texts. Yet, the process of acquiring this particular ability is quite complex and demands intensive scaffolding of individual development of each student. As such, it typically involves three major aspects:
1. Revising and editing of several versions of the same text by each student.
2. Assessing and commenting on each version of the text by the instructor.
3. Evaluating and reviewing model texts (both good and bad) by each student.

Using a faculty-wide Moodle-based e-learning platform, however, we have determined that none of the standard Moodle modules offers such specific functional features that would facilitate the application of the three-stage model. The tools that could be used for academic writing instruction either lack the possibility of revising one's own work based on previous comments and assessment (Assignment, Workshop) or focus more on collaborative/shared rather than facilitated, individual text production (Forum, Wiki).

To overcome these limitations, we have developed a new module called Echo-Assignment. Unlike the standard Assignment module, it can separately store several submissions/re-submissions of each student along with a full history of grades, teacher comments and feedback files for each version (so teachers can evaluate student work at each stage). In addition, we have implemented advanced methods of grading (e.g. rubric) and extended methods of counting the final grade (highest grade, mean, etc.). Furthermore, the module makes it possible to display student submissions and teacher comments among the whole group/class, so that students can learn from each other's mistakes and achievements. Taking different teaching scenarios into account, there are several options available concerning the time and conditions under which a particular student can view the work of others (including anonymizing the actual submissions and feedback comments).

In summary, the new module presents a useful tool for a number of subjects dealing with text production and tutored work revision. Still, the design of the module is flexible enough to accomodate other uses as well, such as supervising theses, submitting audio/video assignments, and conducting complex projects with several stages of result sharing.