Transforming assessment in higher education: A participatory approach to the development of a good practice framework for assessing student learning through social web technologies

Jenny Waycott, Celia Thompson, Rosemary Clerehan, Margaret Hamilton, Kathleen Gray, Judithe Irene Sheard, Joan Richardson

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Social web technologies, such as blogs, wikis, social networking and photo/video sharing sites, are increasingly being used in innovative learning activities in higher education. While there has been much discussion about the pedagogical rationale for using social web technologies in higher education, there has been little examination of the challenges involved in assessing the work students create or the activities they undertake using these tools. The transformation of academic authoring in a social web environment poses complex and urgent assessment-related challenges for policy-makers and educators alike. In this paper we describe the participatory approach we have taken in a project that aims to identify issues and support good assessment practices when students are asked to use social web technologies in medium to high-stakes assessment. In this paper, we outline the design rationale for the research, and describe the methods used in the three stages of this project: 1) documenting current practice through a nationwide survey and interviews; 2) initiating broad discussion across the sector about the issues raised; and 3) field-testing a draft good practice framework in 17 diverse teaching and learning settings. Our initial findings indicate that there are a range of complex student, teacher and institutional issues to consider. We conclude that bottom-up input from practitioners and students, combined with a policy-driven top-down approach is more likely to succeed in bringing about transformation and supporting good practice in the assessment of students' social web activities. © 2010 Jenny Waycott, Kathleen Gray, Celia Thompson, Judithe Sheard, Rosemary Clerehan, Joan Richardson & Margaret Hamilton.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings ascilite 2010 Sydney
EditorsMr Simon Housego, Dr Caroline Steel, Prof Mike Keppell
Place of PublicationSydney
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781742720166
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventAnnual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education 2010 - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 5 Dec 20108 Dec 2010
Conference number: 27th (Proceedings)


ConferenceAnnual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education 2010
Abbreviated titleASCILITE 2010
Internet address


  • Assessment 2.0
  • Assessment practices and standards
  • Participatory research
  • Social web technologies
  • Web 2.0

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