Get Ready to SCOF!


The SCOFS (Standardised, Customisable Online Feedback System) project was a Learning Development Project to develop a tool that would address the needs to give increasing amounts of feedback to students in shorter and shorter timescales.

The SCOF tool is based around the creation of feedback schemes (the ‘Standardised’ part of the name) which can later be used to quickly generate feedback to be tailored to an individual student (the ‘Customisable’ part) before being saved as a file to be sent to the student in some way. If all this seems a little vague it is intentional, because one of the principle decisions that the project team took was that the tool shouldn’t be tied to a particular assessment type or online tool, such as the Moodle VLE. The main reason for this is that the tool is intended to be used in the School of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences where electronic submission of work is sometimes necessarily impossible due to the nature of the work.

The idea was to develop a tool that was quick to use, but allows detailed feedback to be provided to students. This is made possible by pre-creating the feedback schemes, based upon the idea of rubrics, and making use of the range of resources that are available via electronic documents, such as links and images. The output of the tool is a PDF file that can be provided to the student in a number of ways, such as through the Moodle VLE, by email, printing a copy, etc. SCOFS also contains features that allow the feedback to be tied to grades for each element in the scheme, if desired.

SCOFS in Use

A Simple Feedback Scheme with Link, Image and Grades

Feedback sheet given to the student

Example of the output from SCOFS that a student would receive.

Possible Uses

  • Producing feedback during presentations for the student to walk away with.
  • Providing links to useful remedial resources to students who are below average in some areas of their work.
  • Rapidly creating overview feedback to supplement detailed feedback on the original submission.
  • Student peer review using directed comments and appropriate language.
  • Self-assessment of activities for critical reflection.
  • Encouraging the use of positive feedback where work is of a high standard, as well as highlighting areas of weakness.

Continuation Work

SCOFS is currently being evaluated by lecturers across City University London, including a large-scale pilot using Tablet PCs such as iPads and Android devices in the Schools of Arts & Social Sciences. The tool is easily packaged and requires minimal technical knowledge to get started with, so anyone else interested in trying SCOFS is encouraged to get in touch, including both people at City University London and outside.

Once the tool has been properly evaluated it is expected that it will be made available as Open Source software for anyone to download, use and modify.

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5 Responses

  1. sianlindsay

    October 28, 2011 9:08 am

    Hi Ian – this is a great post on a fantastic project. I was wondering is it possible to generate reports for markers from SCOF, e.g. as a marker can you have a report on the grades and feedback you have given to students in the past so you can keep track of the average grade you award, the type of feedback you tend to give etc. Related to this could module leaders then use these kind of reports to analyse marking consistencies across marking teams etc? Just a thought!

    • irglover

      November 1, 2011 10:05 am

      Thanks Sian. That is one of the ideas that I had for taking this further and would also provide the possibility for students to track their own progress (if there was consistency in using the scales across a programme). At the moment the system is completely standalone and doesn’t record anything about who has used it, whose work they used it on and what feedback they gave. This has it’s advantages as it makes the system much simpler to use and doesn’t tie it to any other tool, such as Moodle. If there was interest in taking the project in the direction that you suggest then I would be happy to do the work.

  2. Rae K

    October 28, 2011 11:05 am

    Hi Ian,

    Pleased to see you posted about this. I hope other schools can also learn from your work. Incidentally how can another programme take this up should they be interested?


    • irglover

      November 1, 2011 10:06 am

      Thanks Rae,

      I’m happy for anyone either at City or elsewhere to make use of the tool. In the first instance they should contact me using the email link in the main post and then we can work out how to best set up the system for them.

  3. drandyoliver

    November 10, 2011 3:32 pm

    Hello Ian. I wont scoff at SCOFF. Yep this looks good and might help a recent request to help implement a more rational and streamlined approach towards provided feedback at SOI. In particular they want to look into the notion of building up comment banks. That said I might wish to look at this with regards to the LTA module. What do you think sian?


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