Learning from student experiences for online assessment tasks

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Abstract

Introduction: Use of the Internet for open Web searches is common among university students in academic learning tasks. The tools used by students to find relevant information for online assessment tasks were investigated and their information seeking behaviour was documented to explore the impact on assessment design. Method: A mixed methods approach was followed, using recorded observations of online sessions and retrospective interviews. Ten students who recently started university undertook two online assessment tasks where all online interactions were digitally recorded, followed by retrospective interviews to gain insight into their behaviour. Analysis. The observations were analysed together with the interview responses to develop categories and themes of information tools usage, with a particular focus on assessment design in higher education. Results: Most participants preferred to seek information using basic tools and approaches, and did not maximise the capacity of information tools to improve quality and synthesis of discovered information. These novice readers showed a need for instruction in speed reading and information tool usage to improve their learning. Conclusions: Findings suggest that improvement in assessment design and subsequent student learning may be achieved by providing guidance to university students in information tools usage during the design of learning tasks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalInformation Research
Volume20
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

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