Marta Muntoni set out at the beginning of this process hoping to produce an online assessment tool for languages grammar tests. The tool, she had hoped, would allow students to get near immediate feedback on their grammar tests that would also contribute towards their University credits.
Unfortunately for Marta, technology in this instance was not as conducive towards her plans as other projects have found. She very quickly discovered that the Moodle version being used was designed for use in English and had trouble recognising foreign characters. As the assessment would be testing the very use of these characters this was, potentially, a showstopper for the project.
This meant that the normal structure of questions, including the use of open ended questions, writing calculations and so on could not be used. At this point Marta and her colleagues had to re-assess the format of the test to find something that could be delivered by the software. Undeterred Marta and the supporting academics in the Department altered their aim, developing a multiple choice, self-assessment tool for students instead. While an assessment that would have counted towards student credits would have required a range of question styles, a self-assessment test could be produced within the constraints of the software.
The self-assessment tool delivered on the original aims of the project – providing swift feedback to students – while working within the limitations of multiple choice questions. This did come with some unforeseen challenges, where she had originally required just correct answers she now required further, incorrect answers from her academic partners. Gathering this extra information for each question in a large question bank slowed the process down and led to the project clashing with the exam period.
Although disappointed that she has not been able to deliver her initial aim, Marta remains positive that her tool will have a beneficial impact for students.