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.
- 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.
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.