ROWLEY et al, 2001. Combining Off-line and On-line Asessment for Distributed Learning. IN: Proceedings of the 5th CAA Conference, Loughborough: Loughborough University
As part of a new programme for flexible and distance learning, CREST, Eng TLSC and
the Department. of Computing Services at Loughborough University have developed a
series of Continuing Professional Development Units in Renewable Energy Systems
Technology. Over 70 students employed by SMEs (small and medium-sized
enterprises) across the UK participated in the inaugural course (March-June 2001).
The course utilised a hybrid CD-ROM/WWW/SMTP learning and teaching approach.
Summative and formative assessment was performed off-line via the course's learning
support CD-ROM (due in part to issues connected with learners' Internet access).
Student's answer files were then uploaded to the University's secure
'CRESTDL@Learn' WWW server for tutor marking and data evaluation.
This paper describes the strategic and technical development of the work, along with
practical aspects of its implementation. Specific areas explored include:
• CAA issues for distributed learners;
• Baseline data and pre-evaluation;
• Design of individual assessment profiles for industry-based learners;
• Development of the hybrid WWW/CD assessment system;
• Determining the CAA question protocols;
• Student and staff evaluation of the system;
• Advantages of the system when marketing the courses in the corporate sector.
The results indicate that such a 'hybrid' approach can provide students with effective
access to a complete virtual learning environment, without an Internet connection being
a pre-requisite. Such an "anytime, anyplace" system may be integrated with a Webbased
tutorial support infrastructure to provide a full range of VLE tools.