2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture
avatar for Mathew Hillier

Mathew Hillier

Macquarie University
e-Assessment Academic
Challenges and Opportunities for Assessment in XR - Panel member for Workshop Special Session.
Presentation introduction:

The presentation will outline an Australian perspective on the obstacles and progress made in the use of XR for student assessment.
The use of XR technologies has shown promise in providing innovative student assessment (Crisp, Hillier & Joarder, 2010a,b; Munoz-Carpio, Cowling & Birt, 2019), yet face a number of hurdles before widespread adoption can be realized. The growing digital divide due to resource constraints, costs, expertise and available connectivity in regional and developing areas is a significant issue (Hillier 2017). In many developed regions of the world internet connectivity continues to be an issue. A case in point is Australia where a fibre to the home national broadband network started construction to only be trashed by a change of government leaving a developed nation with what could only be described as "fraud-band". This has left many areas including those in the nation's largest cities unable to engage with bandwidth intensive applications. This has come to a head with students facing obstacles undertaking live, remotely invigilated online exams given that the upload requirement is above that provided by the base plans offered by the national broadband network wholesaler. In terms of ease of deployment for assessment purposes, most XR technologies require a high level of technical expertise and time to be able to effectively develop suitable assessments within XR environments. This means that the development of assessment tasks is costly and inaccessible when compared to existing assessment approaches such as an online quiz. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a flurry of activity with assessment platform vendors going into overdrive promoting their wares as a panacea that can address the closure of on-campus learning. Yet many offer relatively mundane capabilities that lack the means for students to demonstrate authentic, twenty first century capabilities. There appears to be tension between the development of assessment platforms that enable the design of authentic assessment tasks and the tendency for vendors of assessment systems to focus on scalability and security. However, there are a small number of projects looking to resolve this tension (Fluck 2019). One such example is Australian Government funded project "Transforming Exams" (Hillier, Grant & Coleman, 2018). The project sought to deliver a scalable, secure, reliable, cost- effective assessment platform that would enable a pathway from paper equivalent assessments to post-paper, authentic task design. It leverages the digital workflow efficiencies of an LMS, is robust to network outages and allows students to use a range of sophisticated 'software tools of the trade' in constructing complex responses. A demonstration of using augmented reality within the secured platform was also shown (Cowling, Hillier & Birt, 2018).