PebbleBash 2014

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Professor David Boud - University of Technology, Sydney

Professor David Boud

David Boud is Professor of Adult Education in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney. He has published extensively on teaching, learning and assessment in higher and professional education in the international literature. He has held the positions of Dean of the University Graduate School, Head of the School of Adult and Language Education and Associate Dean (Research and Development) in the Faculty of Education. In the area of assessment in higher education he has been a pioneer in developing learning-centred approaches to assessment across the disciplines, particularly in student self-assessment (Enhancing Learning through Self Assessment, Routledge 1995) and building assessment skills for long-term learning (Rethinking Assessment in Higher Education: Learning for the Longer Term, Routledge, 2007). His new book with Liz Molloy and others, Feedback in Higher and Professional Education (Routledge) was published in 2013. He is an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Senior Fellow and focused on 'Student assessment for learning in and after courses’, which led to Assessment 2020: Seven Propositions for Assessment Reform in Higher Education. See

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Professor Ian Pirie - University of Edinburgh, UK

Professor Ian Pirie

Ian Pirie was appointed Assistant Principal for Learning and Development and Professor of Design at the University of Edinburgh in 2011. A full time educator since 1980, his work in this field has been in designing and leading the development of innovative programmes of study in and across Art, Design, Architecture, Business, Computing and Engineering. He is internationally known in his roles as an examiner, QAE reviewer and advisor with work being undertaken over a number of years in Malaysia, Singapore, China, Sri Lanka and New Zealand in addition to his extensive work and involvement with UK and European institutions.
For a considerable period of time his research has explored the use of emerging digital technologies in both design practice and in supporting specific pedagogical approaches in education. During the past decade he has led and worked on numerous online developments in support of student learning and specifically in the areas of assessment and feedback at the Robert Gordon University in eLearning; 'Insight Out Learning' for the teaching of entrepreneurship with Glasgow School of Art; chairing the development team of the national portal for the Crafts for the Scottish Arts Council; the innovative developments in assessment and feedback at Edinburgh College of Art where he was Assistant Principal for Learning and Teaching and most recently the online suite of tools to support personal tutoring, academic guidance and support at the University of Edinburgh.

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Professor Geoffrey Crisp - Dean, Learning and Teaching, RMIT University

Professor Geoffrey Crisp

Geoff taught chemistry for many years, initially at the University of Melbourne and then at the University of Adelaide. Geoff developed his passion for learning and teaching while continuing his research work in chemistry. He was actively involved in the development of online learning and was the Director of the Centre for Learning and Professional Development and Director for Online Education at the University of Adelaide. Geoff has received a number of teaching awards including the University of Adelaide’s Stephen Cole the Elder Prize (Excellence in Teaching); the Royal Australian Chemical Institute Stranks Medal for Chemical Education and two Australian Learning and Teaching Council Fellowships. Geoff has received a HERDSA and ASCILITE Fellowship for his learning and teaching work and is currently the Dean, Learning and Teaching at RMIT University.

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Tim Hinchcliffe - Head of Curriculum Support and Development, Keele University

Tim Hinchcliffe

Tim became Head of Curriculum Support and Development at Keele University during the summer of 2012. He has responsibility for the flagship learning and teaching initiative, the Distinctive Keele Curriculum, which includes learning enhancement within academic programmes. Additionally he heads up the university wide Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) accredited skills portfolio and the various student learning services.

Tim has a teaching and learning in higher education qualification and a research masters. Previously he was chief executive of a small postgraduate charity and a university teaching fellow. His interests include meta-epistemology, social learning and the process of reflexivity.

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Matt Street - Learning Technology Officer, Keele University

Matt Street

Matt works at Keele University in Staffordshire. His role involves supporting staff in the appropriate use of technology though his main areas of interest are assessment and feedback and online and distance learning. Matt has written and presented papers on developing and embedding technology-supported assessment and feedback processes across an institution, and on modelling assessment processes across a university and introducing technology-based innovations. Find Matt on Twitter @Matthew_street and blog at

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, Gang aft agley when applied to online assessment

By Professor Geoffrey Crisp

Of course the title should have been “..o’ mice an’ people” but I wanted to be true to the original by Robert Burns! Sometimes it feels like we (academics) make grand plans to use technology to enhance our assessments and yet the reality for students can be quite different from what we intended. This session will explore the 21st century skills and capabilities that our students will need as they live and work in a world dominated by ubiquitous technology, uncertainty and increasing complexity.

Our assessments will need to change; we cannot continue to give students static content-based learning activities and assessment tasks that ignore the contextual consequences of working in a complex environment with many stakeholders. Our assessments need to focus attention on the development of 21st century capabilities. Technology can assist with this aim, but the technology itself is not the solution or even the guarantee of success. Appropriate curriculoum design with attention to the choice of assessment task type and format will enable us to offer a more meaningful assessment experience for our students.

Recent Publications

  • Assessment in Virtual Learning Spaces. Geoffrey Crisp. In Physical and Virtual Learning Spaces in Higher Education: Concepts for the Modern Learning Environment. (Eds) Mike Keppell, Kay Souter and Matthew Riddle. 199-218 pp. 2012.
  • Learning, Teaching, and Assessment Using Technology. Geoffrey Crisp, In Handbook of College and University Teaching. A Global Perspective. (Ed) James E. Groccia, Mohammed A. Al-Sudairy and William Buskist. Chapter 31, 2012

"Accreditation beyond the discipline"

By Tim Hinchcliff & Matt Street

Skills and attributes can be interpreted according to the epistemology of the individual discipline. Relative to these established academic disciplines the informal curriculum could be considered to be at an early stage of developing its own modes of enquiry and associated language. Thus in the absence of a common language, attributes and skills identified at an institutional level can prove problematic for programmes to "authenticate". How can a single award bring together these two communities of practice?

Furthermore, approaches to accreditation often include either additional awards that sit outside the academic curriculum or embedding the requirements directly within the discipline itself. Here we consider accreditation as a third community of practice which draws together both of these approaches.

The Keele University Skills Portfolio (KUSP) provides an open language which enables students to connect areas of life-wide learning common to all of their communities of practice. Using a model that encourages reflection on self-knowledge the portfolio aims to develop life-long learners with a sense of self-direction.

This workshop will look at the model used at Keele University to draw together the three different communities of practice at an institutional level. Participants will explore the issues of this approach, find out what worked well, what didn’t work so well and future plans for the Keele University Skills Portfolio. The discussion will include pedagogical issues such as finding common language and appropriate modes of enquiry as well as more practical considerations including project management and structure, and the culture of an institution.

"Feedback: is there more to it than we think? "

By Professor David Boud

Student criticisms of feedback are not diminishing despite institutions putting increasing effort into assessment practices. Does this mean we that we take what we commonly know as feedback and try to make it better, or do we seek to rethink the idea? The lack of availability of teachers to provide as many comments on their work as students wish means that we can’t continue with traditional conceptions of feedback even if we thought that desirable. Neither is the solution to simply utilise the opportunities of digital technology in our existing model of feedback. What is needed is a rethinking what we mean by feedback and how we influence learning. The session will focus on models of feedback that capture old and new ways of conceptualising the contribution of feedback to learning and explore simple digital examples of some of the processes needed to make them work.

"'Partnership in Assessment and Feedback' and the role of online systems"

By Professor Ian Pirie

During the past decade and more, universities around the world have spent considerable effort trying to address the perennial issue of student dissatisfaction with 'assessment and feedback'. Much of the focus of this attention has been on what staff should be doing to improve the speed, frequency and effectiveness of feedback and in the design of assessment tasks to help students learn more effectively. Frequently the student is the passive recipient of the outputs of this activity and when students adopt the slightly disengaged persona of a 'consumer' of education they are free to insist on faster, more and better without recourse to the expectation of their active engagement and personal responsibility for their own learning. Working with a number of collaborating universities, Edinburgh has been exploring this issue in some depth through a range of research projects to gain a greater understanding of the underlying causes of this dissatisfaction. This presentation will share the findings to-date and a model of assessment and feedback practice where students have no option but to be actively engaged and responsible for the quality of feedback they generate and receive. This latter model has several years of data evidencing 'year-on-year' increases in student satisfaction, is highly dependent upon the active participation of both tutor and tutee, and the effective use of an online learning management environment.

Ian Pirie,
Assistant Principal, Learning and Development
Professor of Design
The University of Edinburgh.
27th February 2014

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