Updated Library Resources

Today we have updated the Library Resources tool in duo to support a new way of delivering content (scanned documents) under the revised CLA license.

The list of resources will not look different, but when you click the link it will fetch the appropriate PDF file not from the e-reserves folder in duo as before, but instead from a central repository. In the long term this should reduce the work needed by the Library to make CLA items available. For the first time CLA items are accessible in past courses, as the new license allows this.

There are a few more changes to the tool’s codebase to support referencing/citation tools – more on that shortly…

PebblePad Upgrade

On Friday, 19th August 2016, Pebblepad3 was successfully upgraded to Pebblepad5 which moves away from a Java Flash based infrastructure towards HTML5 based technology which means more compatibility with mobile devices. The interface is more modern with an easier navigation structure. Staff please note that the upgrade only affects the Pebblepad interface and not ATLAS which remains the same for the time being – however enhancements to this are on the horizon. Please click on the Help Centre module on the front page of Pebblepad to lead you to excellent support videos and how to guides.

PP5 Interface

Online marking workshop


In Easter term 2016, the Arts & Humanities Faculty held an online marking workshop. Colleagues from Philosophy and Archaeology gave presentations on how their departments had implemented fully online marking, followed by questions and discussion on the educational and practical benefits and drawbacks of marking online.

Several key themes and questions emerged which could be useful to any department considering the use of duo to receive, mark and return assignments.

Reasons to try online marking

Effective feedback

  • Maintain feedback standards across a department
  • Incorporate rubrics or forms
  • University requirements for typed feedback and timely return to students

  • Paper-free assessment
  • Marks recorded digitally
  • Streamlined workflow from student to marker(s) and back again
Prevent academic misconduct

  • Easy to check evidence of plagiarism if something look suspicious
  • Catch collusion among students
  • Identify instances of essay re-use

Questions to ask when considering marking on duo

Quality assurance

  • How does your department handle anonymity? For example, do you require anonymity for all summative work? Would identifying scripts with student Z-codes be appropriate? At what point would it be reasonable to de-anonymise the data for administrative purposes?
  • What requirements do you have for moderation or (blind) second marking? For example, do students see the markers’ names? Do moderators need marking data? What evidence is required of these processes?
  • What particular processes do you use for external examining? For example, would your external examiner be happy to view assignments online? Does the external examiner expect assessments to be anonymous?
The medium

  • Would most staff be able to mark online from an accessibility standpoint?
  • Are the online tools sufficient for script annotation in your field?
  • Would your students need support and encouragement to engage with online feedback?
The big picture

  • Does online marking suit every step of the assessment process for your department?
  • What kind of training or support would students and staff require?
  • Would a pilot of online marking be appropriate? Would the department consider implementing one element of online assessment at a time?

If your department are interested in investigating online marking further, please contact your faculty learning technologist.

Further reading

Durham University Learning and Teaching Handbook, Section 6: Examination and Assessment

Boud, D. and Molloy, E. (2013) ‘Rethinking models of feedback for learning: the challenge of design’, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 38(11).

Buckley, E. and Cowap, L. (2013) ‘An evaluation of the use of Turnitin for electronic submission and marking and as a formative feedback tool from an educator’s perspective’, British Journal of Educational Technology, 44, pp. 562–570.

Carless, D. (2007) ‘Learning-oriented assessment: Conceptual bases and practical implications’, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 44(1), pp. 57-66.

Fawcett, H. and Oldfield, J. (2016) ‘Investigating expectations and experiences of audio and written assignment feedback in first-year undergraduate students’, Teaching in Higher Education, 21(1) pp. 79-93.

Higher Education Academy (2012) A Marked Improvement: Transforming Assessment in Higher Education, York: HEA.

Hounsell, D. Enhancing Feedback (website).

O’Shea, C. and Fawns, T. (2014) ‘Disruptions and Dialogues’, in Kreber, C. and Anderson, C. (eds.) Advances and Innovations in University Assessment and Feedback. EUP, pp. 225-45.

Sopina, E. and McNeill, R. (2015) ‘Investigating the relationship between quality, format and delivery of feedback for written assignments in higher education’, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 40(5), pp. 666-80.

West, J. and Turner, W. (2015) ‘Enhancing the assessment experience: improving student perceptions, engagement and understanding using online video feedback’, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 21 January, pp. 1-11.

Updates to PebblePad

PebblePad have told us that the next planned update for their system will be on the 25th of April. They will carry this out at 6am GMT (i.e. 7am BST). We will be watching them closely and post any changes we spot.

If you are in one of the Departments that have licensed PebblePad or Atlas, you might want to have a look at the release notes associated with this change: