Flinders University is leading the development of a digital system to handle student assignments that will become an integral part of Moodle, a popular and successful learning management system used by universities worldwide and by Flinders starting in 2012.
The Electronic Assignment Management (EAM) system not only eliminates the need for students to print and physically submit assignments but it will enable academics to mark them and provide feedback more effectively and efficiently.
Mr David Green, Director of the Centre for Educational ICT, said Flinders was spearheading the EAM project as a member of a consortium of six universities – including Massey University, University of Canberra, La Trobe University, Macquarie University, University of Southern Queensland and the University of New England – that were keen to streamline the administration of assignments.
“Just as more aspects of learning are occurring online, students want to be able to submit their assignments and to receive grades and feedback online,” Mr Green said.
“Universities here and abroad have been looking for a reliable and efficient way of doing this and while the tools do exist, current systems are clunky and far from intuitive,” he said.
“Incorporating an EAM system into Moodle, the open source learning management system software that will form the basis of the upgraded FLO (Flinders Learning Online) and is widely used around the world, makes sense.”
ICT project officer Ms Grette Wilkinson said the University had engaged the South Australian company NetSpot, an official Moodle partner, to host Moodle on its behalf and to develop the EAM.
“MoodleHQ has given NetSpot carriage of the development of the assignment module within the Moodle core software,” Ms Wilkinson said.
“This has the great advantage of ensuring that the EAM is always compatible with any Moodle upgrade,” she said.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Andrew Parkin said the development of the EAM was an appropriate response to new teaching and learning styles, and aligned with the University’s commitment to enhancing the student experience.
“More university students today are engaged with study, work and leisure via a screen-based environment through a range of digital devices,” Professor Parkin said.
“Having the ability to submit a digitally prepared assignment online is not only more convenient; it is also an opportunity for academics to customise their responses, to post links to other resources and to include digital material as part of the feedback,” he said.
“It makes for a richer learning experience.”
The EAM will be available from the start of semester one in 2012.