Assessment is a Many Splendoured Thing: Fostering Online Community and Lifelong Learning

March 9, 2012

This paper presents the design and application of a major individual assessment task created in part to develop students’ capacity for lifelong assessment, a key element of lifelong learning. Additionally the task contributes to fostering a sense of community in asynchronous online learning environments. The task is a supra disciplinary report, recently trialled and now adopted for two postgraduate environmental studies courses offered online. The task design’s theoretical underpinnings are reviewed with reference to (i) lifelong assessment, (ii) the value of lifelong assessment from the perspective of environmental studies, and (iii) the importance of fostering community to support learning in online contexts. The paper describes the task’s disaggregation into three discrete stages, and the opportunities this provides for fostering community and for supporting students to engage in critical assessment of the quality of their own and their peers’ written work, through a transparent, structured process of giving and receiving peer feedback.

The European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning

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