durhamEmma Mayhew (Academic Director, EMA) and Maria Papaefthimiou (Senior TEL Advisor) headed north this week to the Blackboard Users’ Conference at the University of Durham. This is one of the most popular events attracting a large number of learning technologists and some academic colleagues across the sector.

Emma and Maria presented to 65 colleagues in a session entitled ‘Small and Medium Go Large: Electronic Management of Assessment at the University of Reading’. This presentation outlined EMA adoption across the sector, key challenges faced by institutions moving from pocketed to institution wide online assessment practices and some of Reading’s own experiences from the PEAR Project to the EMA Programme, from pocketed adoption through to staged Early Adopters and fuller roll out. Some of the key messages outlined in this presentation seemed to be really thought provoking given the long queue of colleagues queuing up to ask Emma and Maria questions at the end of their session.

This conference also gave some colleagues within both the EMA and TEL Teams the opportunity to hear from a small number of other departments and institutions adopting online marking, feedback and grading including Aberdeen and Liverpool. We were able to share approaches to change design, communication, policy and process as well as technical challenges and opportunities over dinner in Durham Castle…a fantastic end to an hugely informative conference.

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