Attitudes to online assignment handling

As part of Cascade we are updating our online assignment handling system.  Currently the vast majority of assignments in the department are handled in hard copy, so that making this service available more widely will be a big change for many of our students, administrators and academics if they use it.

In our relatively informal consultations up to this point we have encountered widely differing reactions to the prospect of moving this online, both negative and positive and we are now moving forward with a more systematic survey in this area. As part of this we are trying to come up with a list of  attitudes which stakeholders can indicate agreement with or not – we started out with about 5 statements each for academics and students but since consulting a bit more are now up to well over 10 for each.

 Academic statements

  1. Many of my students hand write assignments
  2. I would be technically confident handling assignments online
  3. I am confident that online assignment handling is secure
  4. I do not want to spend more time at a screen
  5. I think that online assignment submission would speed up the marking process
  6. I would welcome being able to use plagiarism detection software
  7. I am worried about having to remember more passwords
  8. I think typing feedback will take longer than writing it by hand
  9. I am worried about students submitting assignments in file types I cannot read
  10. I do not want to have to print out assignments
  11. I am worried about having a good enough computer to deal with marking assignments online
  12. In my subject it is difficult produce electronic assignments e.g. maths notation or Cyrillic script
  13. I am worried that online submission will make it easier to plagiarise
  14. I think online assignment submission will be more stressful for student

Student statements

  1. I currently hand write my assignments
  2. I would be confident about the security of submitting my assignments online
  3. I have the technical skills to submit an assignment online
  4. If I submitted an assignment online, I would like to receive confirmation of receipt by email
  5. I would welcome the additional time the option of online submission would offer in meeting a deadline
  6. I would be happy to receive my work back electronically
  7. I think that online assignment submission would speed up turnaround of my assignments
  8. I prefer handwritten comments on my assignment
  9. I find typed feedback easier to read
  10. I currently submit my assignments by hand
  11. I currently submit my assignments by post

We are hopeful we have captured the most common attitudes, but it is hard to balance the positive and negative and there is always the worry that this will draw attention to points of view that would have never have occurred to our stakeholders if we had not brought it up.  If anyone has any experience in this area and can suggest anything they found useful it would be great to hear from you.

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