AN ASSESSMENT STRATEGY FOR LEARNING IN A FIRST YEAR PROGRAMMING COURSE: A CASE IN OPEN DISTANCE E-LEARNING

D. van Heerden, M. van Der Merwe

University of South Africa (SOUTH AFRICA)
The University of South Africa is a comprehensive Open Distance e-Learning institution with limited face-to-face student contact. Furthermore, a large percentage of the student population is subjected to many historical, technological and infrastructural impediments not obvious to a first economy. For such reasons, formative and summative assessment in vocational courses such as programming is particularly challenging. Drawing on hard-learned experiences we present a case study of effective assessment techniques that can be used to reliably measure essential theoretical, practical and communication skills of first-year programming students. This article is qualitative in nature and an auto-ethnographic approach is used. The methodology includes thematic analysis, coding and categorising of data obtained from the Unisa Learning Management System. By contextualising our assessment techniques, we offer advice to the wider e-learning community on how to approach and systemise online assessment.