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Creating Data Entries for a Historical Online Portal as a Digital Assessment


Prof Michael Scott uses the Oiko portal project (developed previously by him as a Warwick Strategic Impact project) as an optional digital assessment in the recently created 'Ancient Global History' module. is an online historical portal that allows users to learn about the multitude of interactions between civilizations in antiquity across an interactive map and timeline; the key feature of the portal is that its entries, each containing a detailed historiographic description of a significant event, are written by students and scholars alike, allowing the portal to incrementally expand every year. The module requires technical support to provide students with relevant training and improve the functioning of Oiko; hence, it is supported by an IATL Academic Fellowship.

The students of the 'Ancient Global History' module may engage with if they opt out of a traditional essay as a form of assessment in favour of either of two optional assessment formats that focus on interaction with the portal. The first option requires the student to write a 2500-3000-word essay on a research question of their choosing that centres on ancient global interaction and is based on data entries from the Oiko portal; the second option requires the student to attend a training session and write their own data entries and 'narrative chains' for the portal, which may eventually be approved for publication on Oiko. Either option is worth 25% of the overall grade of the course.

Lesson plan

  1. The students are presented with three options for completing their module assessment worth 25% of the final grade. Option A is a conventional essay; however, options B and C are centred on student interaction with Option B requires the student to devise their own research question related to the interaction between ancient civilizations as witnessed using the data entries on, and then to respond to it through in an essay. Option C requires a more practical engagement with the portal; its steps are outlined below.
  2. The student wishing to select option C must express their interest to the tutor and register on the portal.
  3. In the first week of the second term of the course's running, the students must then attend a two-hour taught training session that covers the basic functions of the Oiko portal and the process of creating data entries and 'narrative chains' on it.
  4. The student must identify, via their own research, the data entries missing on that they wish to create and submit their plan to the course tutor.
  5. As part of the final submission, the students must submit three 'event entries' (about 500 words each) and a 'narrative chain' enclosing them (about 200 words) on the Oiko portal, as well as a 1000-word essay reflecting on their choices and the significance of how they are represented within the portal. The marking criteria are described here.

Tutor's observations

This project is designed ... as a public-facing tool to help the public understand something of the connected nature of different communities and civilizations in antiquity, stretching from the Mediterranean to China. This is to counteract ... the isolated way in which we study history...

Contributor's introduction and student testimonies

Embedded below is a video introduction to provided by Prof Michael Scott at the IATL TEALfest 2020.

Embedded below is a video recording of student feedback regarding the digital assessment.

1_Creating Data Entries for a Historical Online Portal as a Digital Assessment
2_first_Michael Scott
5_second_Michael Scott
CX 270-30: From Confucius to Constantine: Ancient Global History