November 2011 - Volume 10 Issue 3

Editorial by Nicola Ayre - University of Ulster


Welcome to the third issue of Italics in 2011 which features an eclectic range of submissions. The papers carried in this issue consider areas such as student attrition, assessment and the use of various technologies to develop, enhance and support student learning.

Many institutions, both large and small, are actively seeking to address the question of attrition in ICT education and the need to understand the underpinning factors. The cost of higher education is set to rise significantly within the UK environment and remains a substantial investment internationally. The paper by Roberts, McGill and Koppi (University of Wollongong and Murdoch University) reports on an in-depth study of “early leavers from four Australian universities” and identifies a number of factors which institutions may consider to increase both student retention and satisfaction.

Dang, Pan and Wang (London Metropolitan University) consider the development of virtual learning environment courseware. They suggest e-learning courseware should be more than “simply a set of online learning materials” and describe a practical “framework for the design, delivery and evaluation of e-learning courseware.”

The paper by Prigmore (University of Huddersfield) draws on “five years of assessment and feedback data” to provide a detailed analysis of “the effectiveness of student-led seminars as an assessment strategy.” Intriguingly the paper suggests “students with middle range grades, and those on grade borderlines, seem to benefit most.” Both the effectiveness and inefficiencies of a student-led approach are considered.

Lilley, Pyper and Wernick (University of Hertfordshire) consider the “usage of computerised adaptive testing in higher education.” This paper identifies the “diverse range of assessment methods” adopted across the sector, focusing on the potential uses of computerised adaptive testing. The authors explore why computerised adaptive testing “is not a commonly used assessment technique” at present and suggest its future potential.

The paper by Sellahewa (University of Buckingham) presents an overview of a pilot study in the use of EduMECCA SRS in small group teaching. The effectiveness and practical challenges of SRSs are considered.

The paper by Smith (University of Sunderland) discusses the use of an undergraduate mini project to “teach applied programming using the Facebook platform.” The use of a “broad range of technologies to design, develop and publish applications to the Facebook Application Directory” is detailed. The author explores both the feedback benefits of the approach and the challenges for future development.

Dudman (London Metropolitan University) explores the use of video snippets to support undergraduate learning. The paper addresses the design and delivery of video snippets coupled with feedback from key stakeholders.

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ISSN: 1473-7507