EMA Programme Benefits

Assessment and feedback involve a complex set of processes. Moving to electronic management of assessment brings a wide range of benefits, such as streamlining these processes and promoting effective student learning. It also contributes to the wider, strategic aims of meeting rising student expectations and improving the student experience.

The benefits listed below are anticipated as a result of managing assessment electronically, whilst recognising that everyone’s experience will be different, and that the impact will be felt to varying degrees.

Ability to provide more consistent, clearer and multi-dimensional marking and feedback

For example:

More choice and variety in feedback methods available on Blackboard and Turnitin enables more engaging and multi-dimensional feedback, and increased inclusivity.

Use of pre-defined banks of Rubrics & Quickmarks supports consistency as well as the development of richer feedback.


More data to identify student support needs

For example:

Having assessment and marks information available online, with new report screens, will provide easier and quicker access to aid analysis of performance as well as help Personal Tutors further support students.


Increased data can be used to feedback into curriculum design

For example:

Increased visibility of institutional-wide assessment data and volumes can inform further improvement and opportunity to understand and improve teaching & learning.


Less time handling assessment which can be invested in pedagogical elements of the process

For example:

Work can be submitted and moderated online, meaning no need to collect and return work to campus.

Increased convenience due to the ability to work from anywhere, on and offline.

After initial entry in Blackboard or Turnitin, marks are managed in RISIS by Programme Administrators, reducing the administrative burden for academic staff.

Assessment and marks information will be available centrally reducing the time needed to gather information on progress from various sources/spreadsheets.

Pre-defined Rubrics and Quickmarks can be selected (where appropriate), aiding a more efficient marking process.


Less time for reporting analysis and problem resolution

For example:

Having assessment and marks data available centrally and online, with new report screens, means easier and quicker analysis of information.

Immediate availability of data to Study Abroad services to enable student placement criteria checking without having to collate data.

Saves time for Exams Officers as less need to collate data from various sources.


No need to manage large volumes of paper

For example:

Online submission means less paper to be transported and managed (e.g. at home) and is a more environmentally friendly way of working.

Online marking will reduce departmental printing costs and mean less storage/archiving of paper is required (for coursework).


Central & Secure Storage

For example:

It will be possible to access/revisit marks and feedback electronically at any time.

Feedback and marks are entered once and shared electronically, reaching the right person with less risk of transposition errors.

Security will be increased due to storing submissions electronically rather than transporting paper (which could be lost).

Less time administering the assessment process

For example:

Information is entered once and re-used, meaning less repeated, manual data entry. For example, there is no need to collate (summative) coursework calendars.

Online submission and receipting removes the need to record submission and removes the need to enter submission data.

It also means less time to track compliance with submission deadlines as data is available centrally online.

Reduced time to calculate and report on 15 day turnaround time as this is now managed within RISIS.

If integration is achieved (still in development), submission points can be automatically created from data passed over from RISIS, and marks entered in Blackboard/Turnitin can be automatically passed to RISIS.


Increased, centralised and more complete data, reducing time for reporting, analysis and problem resolution

For example:

Increased assessment and marks data, with new report screens provides better insights available for student support and wellbeing services.

Immediate availability of data to Study Abroad services to enable student placement criteria checking without having to collate data.

Increased visibility/audit trail of changes to marks (e.g. application of penalties).

Quicker flagging and resolution of queries and errors in relation to assessment data/sub modular marks will be possible.

Easier and quicker reporting and analysis of assessment information and marks data. Quicker retrieval of data on submission dates as hard copy receipts will be available centrally.

Simplified and consistent support process for sub modular mark queries via RISIS Helpdesk.

Automatic notification of EC requests that are submitted online, enabling quicker action to be taken.


Reduction in the potential for errors caused by manual handling/spreadsheets/database

For example:

Automated processes and system managed calculations means less likelihood of transposition errors and correction of mark entry records.

Less mismatching of details about assessments as RISIS will be the master source of information.


Easier access for moderators and external examiners

For example:

More efficient and secure transfer of assignments for online moderation.


Faster and more focused communication with Academic Staff

For example:

Increased data can help improve communication related to assessment and deadlines across an entire school. Information is available immediately and centrally, removing the need to check information with several people and creating a common understanding.


Central and secure storage

For example:

Increased efficiency, central and secure storage due to formal Exam Board reports now being held in RISIS.

Security will be increased due to storing submissions electronically rather than transporting paper (which could be lost).


Less printing

For example:

Online submission, marking and moderation will result in reduced effort and costs to print and post work for moderation.

More environmentally friendly way of working.

More consistent, clearer and multi-dimensional feedback, with increased privacy

For example:

Online feedback is private, legible and can be revisited easily online.

More variety in feedback methods using Blackboard and Turnitin enables more engaging and multi-dimensional feedback and greater inclusivity.

New tools can be explored in the future, including those to enable students to self-reflect and explore areas of strength and weakness.


Increased consistency and convenience, enabling more timely submission and less effort

For example:

Useful tools available on Blackboard or Turnitin enhance submission and feedback e.g. Similarity Checker (originality report), embedded links in Quickmarks, audio feedback and more.  

Online submission, marking and feedback removes the need to be on campus to submit or collect work.

Reduced need to submit electronically and manually (dual submissions), saving time and effort.

Submission points and deadlines being centrally available on Blackboard and Turnitin means better clarity on exact timings for submission.

Extenuating Circumstances can be submitted online, centrally and securely.


Central and secure storage, with receipting for all assignments/transactions

For example:

Electronic confirmation of receipt (including for hard copy submissions) is available and awareness of any problems with submission will be immediate.


Less travel and printing

For example:

Reduced personal cost for travel and printing as work is submitted electronically and there is no need to be on campus to submit and collect work.

A more environmentally friendly way of working.


Increased data and analytics

For example:

Increased visibility of summative assessment and marks in one place, giving greater clarity of progress and overall attainment, and removing need to calculate progress manually.

What have colleagues found?

In addition to the anticipated benefits above, below you will find a series of interviews with colleagues from across the university, each talking about how they've found the shift to electronic management of assessment. More video content can be found on the Video page.

Stephanie Sharp (IoE)

Cindy Becker (SLL)

Luisa Ciampi (Support Centre)

Rob Hosfield (SAGES)

Amanda Cockayne (IoE)

Lillie-Mae Firmin (RUSU)