Assessing collaborative learning: big data, analytics and university futures

Maarten van de Ven

Assessment of collaborative learning by means of big data might have an impact on the future of universities. That argument is explored in a recently published article. The author starts his argumentation by discussing three current issues in Higher Education. These are (1) twenty-first century skills such as computer-supported cooperative learning, (2) learning in authentic contexts, for example computer-supported cooperative working and (3) learning analytics to support authentic assessment. He builds his argumentation with a large body of references from different disciplines.

The paper explores the implications of opportunities for the purpose and practices of assessment in higher education, as universities adapt their institutional missions to address twenty-first century needs. One opportunity for universities is a move from quantifying the performance of individual students on academic exercises to the analysis of collective group achievements on authentic tasks involving soft skills. This move would shift the assessment focus from individuals to groups. Another possibility is a move to more flexible study patterns and the siting of learning outside the university. Situating learning experiences outside the institution erodes the boundary between university and external organisations.

The paper  concludes with a strong recommendation for university leaders to deploy analytics to support and evaluate the collaborative learning of students working in realistic contexts

More information
Williams, P. (2017). Assessing collaborative learning: big data, analytics and …