Multimodal assessment and like for like feedback: What’s the point?

Danielle Tran


At the University of Greenwich, United Kingdom, the Postgraduate Research Teaching and Learning and Assessment course (PGRTLA) sees a coming together of post-graduate research students (PGRs) from a variety of disciplines. The latter means that students have often developed distinct approaches to studying and assessment rooted in the subject area in which they specialise. The PGRTLA is a six-week course consisting of one three-hour interactive seminar each week. This case study evaluates a trial to submit a reflective assignment in a format of their choice. Students were also informed that the feedback given by the course leader would be ‘like for like’, meaning that the tutor would employ the same mode and format used by the student when constructing the feedback. Five of the 42 participants chose to submit a multimodal assessment. In spite of the low number of multimodal submissions, positive feedback was received via the course completion survey. Experiments with assessment and feedback show students that their different learning styles are respected; it offers students greater choice and control over the format and mode of their work. However, support for new technology-enhanced learning tools needs to be offered in advance for those interested in trying out something new. Training may also need to be offered to staff involved in marking multimodal assessments. Resource and time have shown to be challenging factors but such experimentation by student and teacher can lead to both parties developing their professional practice. Existing skills of familiar tools can be improved upon, and new skills can be learnt as new tools are tried out.

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