eAssessment Scotland Conference 2012: “Feeding Back, Forming the Future”

Last Friday I attended the eAssessment Scotland conference at the University of Dundee: “Feeding Back, Forming the Future”.  Now in its fourth year, this was the second time I had attended. Last year Steve Draper and I were invited to give a paper and gave a talk called “Peer Collaboration and Assessment”; this year I was co-presenting with a paper with Lorna Love called “Social Networks as a Platform for Peer and Staff Feedback for Level 1 Arts & Science”, which talks about some of our experiences with and thoughts about using Facebook with students.  In particular, we focus on the less formal aspects of the student experience.   A comment that Lorna once made really impressed itself on me – she compared student use of her Facebook groups to going for a coffee in the Student Union, and that resonated with me.  While both of us would hesitate (I think) to use Facebook to deliver formal courses, we both see it as an important adjunct to “official” methods of delivering learning.  As you will see from the abstract, we focus on Facebook as supporting “virtual PAL” rather than as competing with lectures, or Moodle Forums, and we believe that Facebook works well when used in this way.

I always feel a bit of a fraud co-presenting with Lorna and talking about “our” research, as she has done most of the work setting up and monitoring Facebook groups, but it’s a subject that interests me for many reasons, and I love working with Lorna because she is so motivated and motivating.  We’re planning on writing up all of our thoughts as a proper journal article when we can find the time to sit down together, so watch this space …

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