Computers in assessment
For assignments where the response can be algorithmically or even heuristically programmed (adopted), computer assisted assessment tools can offer clear advantages in dealing with high volumes of marking and increasing feedback to students. With assignments designed to determine a student's level of expertise, carefully designed questions from an expert are required for assessment purposes. Responses based on established facts or reasoning will not differentiate between an expert and an adoptive learner. For this reason, computers alone cannot be used to assess the adaptive nature of expertise.
In supporting the adoptive learning aspects of the course, such as the subject knowledge base and techniques, the effectiveness of ICT depends mostly on the degree of accessibility and flexible use of the course resources required. These include access, browsing and searching of course-related instructions and guidance notes, internet sites, CAL packages, simulations, productivity applications (such as Word, email, spreadsheets, statistical packages, computer-aided design, multiple choice questions), and so on.
The effectiveness of ICT is also influenced by the availability of traditional materials to students. If a campus library is accessible then web-based summaries can be used to provide effective introductions and guidance. (The students might be asked to produce these!). If a library is not available, such as for distance learning courses, then a complete knowledge base may have to be provided. Supplying a series of downloadable materials, e.g. electronic documents, may be a user-friendly format, again with some web-based introductory summaries and guidance. In order to avoid information overload of the students, it is advisable first to design the assignments and then provide the appropriate resources rather than to collate resources and then design assignments.