Subject: [ifets] assessment in distance learning
Date: Tue, 03 Nov 1998 21:21:56 -0800
From: Alfred Bork <bork@binky.ics.uci.edu>
Reply-To: ifets@gmd.de
To: ifets@gmd.de, ifets-digest@gex.gmd.de

Several recent articles have raised the question of assessment in
distance learning, worrying about the problem of cheating.

This problem has long been addressed by the UK Open University. Perhaps
someone from there would like to describe their procedures.

For newly developed computer-based courses, there is a future approach
which seems very promising, combining learning and assessment in an
intimate blend, so the student has no impression of ever taking a
'test' or doing an assignment. So cheating does not occur.

Such a program will be continually probing to determine what
problems the student is having, and then offering assistance for those
problems. The role of assessment is therefore not to give grades, but to
be sure that everyone masters the material. This could never have been
done in a lecture or video environment, but only in the environment that
I recently described here as highly interactive. The use of the
students' native language is critical in determining the problems.

Clearly very little such material exists. But we know how to produce
it, with no technology beyond that we already have.

Alfred Bork
Information and Computer Science
University of California Irvine

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