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interACT - Interactive Assessment and Collaboration via Technology: Using technology to promote feedback dialogue with online distance learners.

interACT - Interactive Assessment and Collaboration via Technology


The final reports from this project are now available - the interACT  Institutional Story, and Evaluation Report (October 2013). All other project outputs can be accessed from the Design Studio. (Please note further updates will be available by October 2014).



This project aims to strengthen feedback dialogue in a postgraduate online distance learning (ODL) programme in Medical Education at the Centre for Medical Education (CME), University of Dundee. The CME is located within the College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing at the University of Dundee and is responsible for the design and delivery of the Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma and Masters in Medical Education programme delivered to approximately 3000 local and international students. This project is a collaboration between the CME and the Library and Learning Centre (LLC) who span the entire university providing educational development and technological support and expertise. 

The programme assessment and feedback structure currently relies on written monologic feedback provided through a distributed marking model, delivered once a module is completed. This model of assessment and feedback design has been criticised in the literature as being monologic in nature and inefficient in terms of teacher time. Students may have difficulty understanding the feedback provided therefore limiting its contribution to future development. Students have often progressed to the next module or assessment activity when feedback is provided without opportunities for dialogue that assists students to construct their understanding in a meaningful way. A heavy reliance on ‘transmitted’ tutor feedback can create dependency on the teacher for information about progress, especially in the absence of formal opportunities for promoting self-feedback. The self-feedback and feedforward elements are compromised in our model. Furthermore, academic staff feel frustrated at the lack of ability to easily review previous feedback provided to students and to engage with students around assessment in a constructive way.  

This project will lead to a complete redesign of the feedback system within our programme such that all assessment activities promote learning, incorporate self-feedback and involve feedforward.  The e-activities toolkit will complement ACT and scaffold students’ learning through promoting dialogue with self, peers and tutors in relation to assessment and feedback.


The overall aim of this project is to improve feedback dialogue in an ODL postgraduate medical education programme. Two synergistic sub-aims are to develop, implement and evaluate:

  • a longitudinal self-reflective feedforward system utilising a combination of existing features available with our Blackboard virtual learning environment (VLE)and open source technologies.
  • a toolkit of e-activities designed to improve self, peer and tutor dialogic feedback through the use of available technologies such as blogs, Friendfeed, Skype/webinars, or synchronous chat.

Specific objectives of this project are:

  • To design an interactive longitudinal assessment that leads to collaboration between teachers and students through the use of technology.
  • To develop a toolkit of e-activities that promote dialogic feedback with self, peer and tutor
  • Students taking responsibility for their learning by reflecting and acting on their feedback to improve their performance
  • Improved student perceptions of the value of feedback and greater engagement with assessment criteria
  • Enhanced learner self-regulation and student experience
  • Enhanced staff satisfaction from seeing the effort they put into generating constructive feedback being realised in better student performance and achievement.
  • Enhanced staff ability to form a comprehensive view of each student based on a longitudinal and developmental feedback system that is searchable and accessible.
  • Technology used to facilitate a process that is manageable, efficient and effective.

Anticipated Outputs and Outcomes

Outcome measures include qualitative data on key stakeholder satisfaction and quantitative data including attrition rates, time to progress, efficiency and quality of reflection. 

  • Enhance feedback and assessment processes
  • Enhance student learning experience and self-regulated learning
  • Maintain research excellence
  • Improved efficiency in assessment practices
  • Maintain teaching and learning excellence across the university 

Project Blog


(For earlier documents please see bottom of page)

Project Staff

Project Director
Rola Ajjawi

Project Manager
Susie Schofield

Documents & Multimedia

Start date
1 September 2011
End date
31 August 2014
Funding programme
e-Learning programme
Assessment & feedback programme
Project website
Lead institutions
University of Dundee