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  1. Physics Education Innovations in Practice 2007 The S207 eTMA experience

  2. The S207 eTMA experience Introduction and background to the S207 eTMA marking project Stuart Freake An AL’s experience of marking S207 eTMAs Craig McFarlane Where to next? Jimena Gorfinkiel

  3. Towards an e-OU ? • Move towards greater e-presentation • more material delivered by web • more administrative interaction via web • e-tutorials • interactive CMAs • VLE • eTMAs • Many advantages • efficiency; ease of updating materials; reduced use of paper; less dependence on the postal service; global availability

  4. eTMAs … • …have many of the advantages just mentioned, and • have the potential for somewhat more rapid feedback to students • PT3 mark checking and automation of mark transcription • avoid need for photocopying for monitoring • for many students, word-processing assignments is more efficient than paper • Increasing proportion of courses are allowing eTMAs (2007 data): OU Science • eTMA expected 40 % 27 % • eTMA encouraged 31 % 22 % • eTMA compulsory 5 % 0 % • paper compulsory 22 % 47 % • mixed submission 4 % 4 %

  5. Science TMAs … • … are not like social science eTMAs • they require inclusion of specialized notation, equations, diagrams • producing these electronically can be very time-consuming, and many students don’t have the necessary skills • we would prefer students to spend time understanding physics concepts rather than using equation editors or drawing packages • But many Science students do have the skills to produce an eTMA • we should allow them the option of eTMA submission if possible

  6. Marking physics eTMAs • eTMAs have to be marked electronically • this requires annotation with specialized notation, equations, diagrams • ALs need to be able to do this quickly and efficiently • need to maintain current high quantity and quality of feedback on scripts • dificult with standard eTMA marking system with its dependence on commenting and annotating in Word • Science CTs have therefore been wary about allowing eTMAs • await development of appropriate tools / methods that facilitate specialized marking

  7. πCETL project • One focus of πCETL at OU is e-teaching and e-learning • need to find ways to overcome barriers to use of physics eTMAs • Jonathan Underwood (S207 CTC 2006) proposed a project to facilitate marking of S207 eTMAs • funded by πCETL in early 2006 • provides Tablet PCs for S207 ALs to allow handwritten annotation of eTMAs, so ALs can mark in similar way to paper TMAs • allows a variety of file formats from students; AL converts to pdf file using PDF Creator, opens pdf file with PDF Annotator and marks script by writing on screen with tablet pen; returns pdf file with embedded comments to student • AL can also mark Word readable documents using standard Word tools, enhanced by use of Ink tools available on Tablet PCs.

  8. πCETL project • Optional participation by ALs; 19 of the 23 ALs agreed to take part • Tablet PCs sent out in early April, some ALs ready to go with TMA02 • Students were told that not all ALs could mark eTMAs

  9. S207 eTMAs 2006

  10. The S207 eTMA experience An AL’s experience of marking S207 eTMAs Craig McFarlane

  11. S207 eTMA hardware and software • the tablet PC – to simulate “paper marking” • a wireless router – to download eTMAs direct to PC (not essential but preferable) • PDF Creator – to turn Word files etc into pdf files • PDF Annotator – to write directly on pdf files • OU eTMA Filehandler: (i) location for downloaded files (ii) source of electronic PT3 form (iii) zips marked files for upload S207 eTMA marking needs:

  12. Advantages of eTMAs • Flexible annotation – can erase, insert extra pages, append model answers • Ease of navigation of file – can’t lose pages or get them out of order! • Get a copy of TMA to keep – not just PT3 • No boring boxes on PT3 forms to fill up • Can’t add up question scores wrongly • Can modify PT3 as you mark, can write as much as you like – not limited by space • Time taken about the same as paper TMAs (not all ALs agree with this)

  13. Disadvantages of eTMAs • Fine as long as the technology works… • Potential problems with eyestrain or RSI • “Rolls-Royce” solution – practicable for all science courses?

  14. Thoughts on a year’s eTMA marking • Numbers opting to submit eTMAs on increase • As yet no student has reverted to paper submission • Fear of MS Word Equation Editor the biggest barrier to eTMA submission • My own view: eTMAs are the future – advantages outweigh disadvantages. We have to work to nullify the latter.

  15. The S207 eTMA experience Where to next ? Jimena Gorfinkiel

  16. Where to next ? • How to encourage electronic submission? • How to make it easier for students? • incorporate equations and figures • produce whole TMA with a single device • Ensure good quality for tutors to read and mark • Trial of electronic equipment to produce eTMAs • asked tutors to participate in trial and contact students from early April • Students to receive equipment in May • Get feedback from students at the end of presentation

  17. Equipment • Canon CanoScan LIDE 25 • write TMA normally • scan pages directly into pdf format • produce single file easily • PC Notes Taker • uses special pen and clip base unit attached to USB port • write on normal paper (produce paper and electronic version at the same time) • files for each page saved in specific format that can be collated into Word document • alternatively, files can be converted to jpeg and collated into Word document

  18. Equipment (cont) • Logitech io2 Digital Writing System • uses special pen and special notebook • write on notebook (produce paper and electronic version at the same time) • files stored in pen and saved into computer by docking pen into penholder plugged into USB port • files for each page saved in specific format that needs to be converted into .gif to be collated into Word document • Equipment to be returned at the end of course presentation • Come and see equipment during lunch break!

  19. Physics Education Innovations in Practice 2007 The S207 eTMA experience