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Good Pedagogical Practice driving learning analytics: OpenMentor, Open Comment and SAFeSEA
Dr Denise Whitelock

This event took place on 25th October 2012 at 1:25pm (12:25 GMT)
Knowledge Media Institute, Berrill Building, The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, MK7 6AA

There is a recognition that e-assessment accompanied by appropriate feedback to the student is beneficial for learning. However, one of the problems with both tutor and electronic feedback to students is that a balanced combination of socio-emotive and cognitive support is required from the teaching staff and the feedback needs to be relevant to the assigned grade. This presentation will discuss two technology-enhanced feedback systems that were based upon models of good pedagogical practice (OpenMentor and Open Comment). It will also introduce my most recent project, Supported Automated Feedback for Short Essay Answers (SAFeSEA), which involves the natural language processing problems of how to ‘understand’ a student essay well enough to provide accurate and individually targeted feedback and how to automatically generate that feedback.


Denise Whitelock is a Senior Lecturer in Information Technology specialised in building feedback models for e-assessment systems. Her e-assessment research has been funded by a number of external bodies. The most influential in informing policy was the e-Assessment Roadmap, which stressed the need for automated text recognition systems and which assisted the JISC with the planning of their e-assessment strand. Denise directed the Computer Assisted Formative Assessment Project (CAFA) at The Open University, and has investigated the use of feedback with electronic assessment systems with a large number of course teams. She has built on this expertise to construct an electronic feedback system known as eMentor, which won an Open University Teaching Award. This system provides tutors with feedback on the comments they have made on their students’ assignments and coursework. It has now been transformed into OpenMentor and the JISC are funding the transfer of this technology to Southampton University and Kings College London.

She has recently been awarded an EPSRC grant to provide an effective automated interactive feedback system that yields an acceptable level of support for university students writing essays in a distance or e-learning context.


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