The three-year Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA) Programme has now closed, as planned, on 31 January 2020. The project has met its three key aims, under budget:

-To enable a consistently good student assessment experience

-To provide an improved and supported assessment experience for staff

-To reduce the administrative burden of assessment for the University

Project Sponsor, Professor Gavin Brooks would like to pass on his personal thanks to everyone involved.

“Delivering a project the size and scope of EMA so successfully, and under budget, is a significant achievement. It reflects the dedication and commitment of colleagues across our community, who have balanced the work required for the Project alongside their main roles. I personally would like to thank everyone involved and I hope you are as proud of the positive feedback we already have received about EMA both from colleagues and students, and your important contribution to this, as I am.”

This collaborative approach has resulted in new capabilities and new ways of working, including:

-Significantly increased electronic submission, marking and feedback across the University;

-More consistent assessment processes that are mindful and accommodating of disciplinary differences;

-Clearer roles and responsibilities for all colleagues involved in marking and assessment;

-Access to individual, summative assessment marks, and a range of assessment information on RISIS(for example, School assessment ‘heat maps’), so that we can see how individual students are doing at any time, what assessment is being carried out, when and how across the whole University;

-A Student Progress Dashboard to enable students to visualise and self-reflect on their progress and support better informed conversations between staff and students;

-A sector-leading level of integration between RISIS and Blackboard, allowing the two systems to talk to each other enabling the automatic transfer of assessment information and marks. This simplifies the way that support centres handle assessment information;

-New resources to support electronic submission, feedback and grading.

This effort has been supported by a wide range of change and transition activities. We estimate that this has involved over 500 engagement sessions with colleagues to listen to their views and update on new developments. The recent Dashboard demonstrations given as part of the Academic Tutor System briefings, for example, have been attended by well over a third of all Academic Tutors.

The impact of the EMA Programme also has been recognised externally. In June, the Programme was awarded the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Optimising the Student Experience in recognition of the significant and evidenced impact on the learner experience. In July, the SIS team was also awarded the coveted Tribal award for Outstanding Student Learning Experience, recognising the innovative technical changes that have been made to support the EMA Programme.

Considerable time has been taken to ensure that operational and support processes are embedded into existing teams and functions, and clear guidance and documentation has been provided. Whilst it may take a little time to get used to new ways of working, the evidence gathered so far demonstrates that the changes have been well received – for example, 89% of 419 students who were surveyed said that they were more satisfied with their experience of submitting assignments and receiving feedback online than if the process was done using paper.

We are grateful to all colleagues, students and graduates who have worked hard to achieve these positive changes which will benefit our whole community.

The EMA Programme Team