Denise Whitelock

Denise Whitelock
The Open University (UK) · Institute of Educational Technology

B.Sc; M.Ed; Ph.D

About

185
Publications
48,072
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Introduction
I am the Director of the Institute of Educational Technology and also Professor of Technology Enhanced Assessment & Learning. My research specialises in building feedback models for eAssessment systems. I hold Visiting Chairs at the Autonoma University, Barcelona and the British University in Dubai. I am a Trustee for the Society of Research in Higher Education.
Additional affiliations
October 1990 - present
The Open University (UK)
Position
  • Professor of Technology Enhanced Assessment and Learning

Publications

Publications (185)
Technical Report
Full-text available
This is the tenth report in a series of reports exploring new forms of teaching, learning and assessment. It proposes ten promising innovations for a post-pandemic world of education: hybrid models, dual learning scenarios, pedagogies of microcredentials, pedagogy of autonomy, watch parties, influencer-led education, pedagogies of the home, pedagog...
Article
Comparing universities and courses is of interest to a variety of stakeholders including potential students, policy makers, news and media organisations, ranking providers, and universities themselves. There are a range of existing university ranking schemes that provide comparisons (e.g. Academic Ranking of World Universities) but typically these...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores a common educational dilemma, namely that of how to resource meaningful teaching and learning experiences, and the research challenge of how to represent the multimodal complexity of pedagogic intentions and instantiations. We share the sociocultural view of talk as a central tool in meaning making, aligned with attention to how...
Chapter
Full-text available
Humanoid intelligent agents, or 'Holographic AIs', as we prefer, are trending, promising improved delivery of personalized services on smart glasses and in Augmented Reality. Lacking clarity of the concept and missing recommendations for their features, however, pose a challenge to developers of these novel, embodied agents. In this paper, we there...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This series of reports explores new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation. This ninth report proposes ten innovations that are already in currency but have not yet had a widespread influence on education. To produce the report, a group of academics at the Ins...
Article
Full-text available
The use of analytical methods from learning analytics (LA) research combined with visualizations of learning activities using learning design (LD) tools and frameworks has provided important insight into how instructors design for learning. Nonetheless, there are many subtle nuances in instructors’ design decisions that might not easily be captured...
Article
The EU-funded TeSLA project - Adaptive Trust-based e-Assessment System for Learning (http://tesla-project.eu) has developed a suite of instruments for e-Authentication. These include face recognition, voice recognition, keystroke dynamics, forensic analysis and plagiarism detection were designed for integration within a university's virtual learnin...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Exploring new forms of teaching, learning and assessment, to guide educators and policy makers
Chapter
This chapter describes a novel evaluation methodology designed, deployed and refined during the development of the EU-funded TeSLA system which was produced to check student authentication and authorship. This methodology was underpinned by a Responsible Research and Innovation approach combined with human-centred design. Participants were 4058 stu...
Article
Full-text available
University ranking systems are being implemented with the aim of assessing and comparing higher education institutions at a global level. Despite their being increasingly used, rankings are often strongly criticized for their social and economic implications, as well as for limitations in their technical implementation. One of these limitations is...
Article
Full-text available
There is a widespread notion that educational systems should empower learners with skills and competences to cope with a constantly changing landscape. Reference is often made to skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaborative skills, innovation, digital literacy, and adaptability. What is negotiable is how best to achieve the deve...
Article
Full-text available
Checking the identity of students and authorship of their online submissions is a major concern in Higher Education due to the increasing amount of plagiarism and cheating using the Internet. The literature on the effects of e‐authentication systems for teaching staff is very limited because it is a novel procedure for them. A considerable gap is t...
Chapter
Full-text available
New forms of data, data visualisation and human interaction with data are changing radically and rapidly. As a result, what it means to be data literate is also changing. In the big data era, people should not simply be passive recipients of data-based reports. They need to become active data explorers who can plan for, acquire, manage, analyse, an...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This series of reports explores new forms of teaching, learning, and assessment for an interactive world, to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation. This seventh report proposes ten innovations that are already in currency but have not yet had a profound influence on education. To produce the report, a group of academics at the I...
Article
Full-text available
The notion of learning gains has increasingly become apparent within the higher education literature and is gaining traction in government policies in the US and UK, reflecting a desire to “quantify” the impact of university study and teaching excellence in particular. Given the increased policy focus on learning gains, it is essential that researc...
Chapter
It has been suggested that the amount of plagiarism and cheating in high-stakes assessment has increased with the introduction of e-assessments (QAA 2016), which means that authenticating student identity and authorship is increasingly important for online distance higher education. This study focuses on the implementation and use in the UK of an a...
Chapter
This paper reports on an essay-writing study using a technical system that has been developed to generate automated feedback on academic essays. The system operates through the combination of a linguistic analysis engine, which processes the text in the essay, and a web application that uses the output of the linguistic analysis engine to generate...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Trust is a fundamental prerequisite for the success of any technological development, especially in education. Without the trust of stakeholders, educational technologies (however effective they might be) can fail to be taken up at scale. This work-in-progress paper reports on a study that investigated the trust students have in tools developed to...
Article
Full-text available
Authenticating the students’ identity and authenticity of their work is increasingly important to reduce academic malpractices and for quality assurance purposes in Education. There is a growing body of research about technological innovations to combat cheating and plagiarism. However, the literature is very limited on the impact of e-authenticati...
Chapter
This Chapter reviews the role of feedback in supporting student learning. It highlights some of the problems that persist with providing meaningful feedback, which should preferably take the form of providing advice, that can be actioned by the student. It then discusses the progress made with automatic feedback through a number of case studies whi...
Article
Full-text available
As universities worldwide rapidly internationalise, higher education classrooms have become unique spaces for collaboration between students from different countries. One common way to encourage collaboration between diverse peers is through group work. However, previous research has highlighted that cross-cultural group work can be challenging and...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This series of reports explores new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world, to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation. This sixth report proposes ten innovations that are already in currency but have not yet had a profound influence on education. To produce it, a group of academics at the Institute of...
Article
Computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) has been highlighted as a beneficial learning experience for students in blended and online settings. In highly diverse and international contexts, CSCL also allows students the opportunity to encounter new ideas and values from peers with different backgrounds. However, previous research has highlig...
Presentation
In this presentation, we will discuss a pilot study (carried out at seven universities across Europe including the Open University and involving more than 300 students) which investigated a prototype online assessment authentication system currently in development by the EU-funded TeSLA project (http://tesla-project.eu, EU H2020 Grant Agreement: 68...
Chapter
Full-text available
The aim of this chapter is to discuss four influential papers that exemplify the degree of theoretical and empirical development in e-assessment. The distinction between summative and formative (“for learning”) forms of assessment is examined in light of the regulatory environments in education, which favour experimentation in the area of low-stake...
Conference Paper
Students have varying levels of experience and understanding, and need support to inform them of expectations and guide their learning efforts. Feedback is critical in this process. This study focused on the effects of providing different types of feedback on participants’ written essays and on participants’ motivations for learning using measures...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Over the last 30 years a range of assessment strategies have been developed aiming to effectively capture students’ learning in Higher Education and one such strategy is measuring students’ learning gains. The main goal of this study was to examine whether academic performance within modules is a valid proxy for estimating students’ learning gains....
Article
Many researchers who study the impact of computer-based assessment (CBA) focus on the affordances or complexities of CBA approaches in comparison to traditional assessment methods. This study examines how CBA approaches were configured within and between modules, and the impact of assessment design on students' engagement, satisfaction, and pass ra...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
One of the challenges facing higher education is understanding what counts for an excellent educational outcome. Historically academic performance was a variable of choice for measuring ‘excellence’ in education, but more recently a concept of learning gain, which can be defined as change in knowledge, skills and personal development across time (e...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper reports the findings of a large-scale survey in to the student experience of assessment at the UK’s largest distance learning university. Three key aspects of assessment were covered in the survey: formative assessment, revision for examination and the examination/end of module; with a view of providing insight for more effective learnin...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Although collaborative web-based tools are often used in blended environments such as education, little research has analysed the predictive power of face-to-face social connections on measurable user behaviours in online collaboration, particularly in diverse settings. In this paper, we use Social Network Analysis to compare users' pre-existing so...
Article
Full-text available
A vast body of research has indicated the importance of distinguishing new vs. continuing students’ learning experiences in blended and online environments. Continuing learners may have developed learning and coping mechanisms for ‘surviving’ in such learning environments, while new learners might still need to adjust their learning approaches to t...
Article
The new pedagogical opportunities that massive open online course (MOOC) learning environments offer for the teaching of fee-paying students on university-accredited courses are of growing interest to educators. This paper presents a case study from a postgraduate-taught course at the Open University, UK, where a MOOC performed the dual role of a c...
Article
Full-text available
Technology enhanced learning has the potential to develop and deliver innovative learning opportunities to improve the student learning experience (Conole, 2013; Sharples et al., 2015). There is now a wide range of learning trajectories from which curricula are currently being developed and for many this raises the question of how higher education...
Chapter
The chapter introduces the current state of the art of technology for E-Assessment for Learning. A large amount of literature is reviewed with respect to formative assessment, feedback and E-Assessment for Learning. Three case studies introduced single innovative approaches of assessment for learning. These include details of OpenEssayist which is...
Conference Paper
This paper discusses the outcomes from the building and empirical investigation of two automatic feedback systems, namely OpenMentor and OpenEssayist that can support student learning. The findings from OpenMentor and OpenEssayist usage suggest that prompt targeted feedback for time poor students can maximise student success. Both systems facilitat...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The fourth in a series of reports explores new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world, to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation.
Article
Distance students are time poor and some drop out of their studies because they fall behind with coursework. This raises the issue of how course teams decide upon how many study hours should be included in a course. This article presents a number of Open University projects that have addressed student workload management and relates how learning de...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Both educators and students face challenges in successful collaborative work, particularly when students come from a diverse set of backgrounds and cultures. This is especially the case at business schools, which have some of the most diverse student populations in the UK. One explanation for this could be that culture and personality influence beh...
Conference Paper
This paper focuses on the use of a natural language analytics engine to provide feedback to students when preparing an essay for summative assessment. OpenEssayist is a real-time learning analytics tool, which operates through the combination of a linguistic analysis engine that processes the text in the essay, and a web application that uses the o...
Conference Paper
This paper focuses on the use of a natural language analytics engine to provide feedback to students when preparing an essay for summative assessment. OpenEssayist is a real-time learning analytics tool, which operates through the combination of a linguistic analysis engine that processes the text in the essay, and a web application that uses the o...
Conference Paper
When assessing student essays, educators look for the students’ ability to present and pursue well-reasoned and strong arguments. Such scholarly argumentation is often articulated by rhetorical metadiscourse. Educators will be necessarily examining metadiscourse in students’ writing as signals of the intellectual moves that make their reasoning vis...
Article
This paper adopts an “advice for action” approach to feedback in educational practice: addressing how provision of “hints” to participants before they write academic essays can support their understanding and performance in essay-writing tasks. We explored differences in performance by type of hint, and whether there was a transfer of better perfor...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we offer a significant development of Baldry and Thibault's (2006) notion of a ‘meaning-making trajectory’ to explore the collective, and often improvisational, interactional processes of meaning making in classroom dialogue. We report a sociocultural discourse analysis (Mercer, 2004) of a series of history lessons with a class of 6–7...
Article
In UK higher education, the attainment of ethnic minority students is lower than that of white students, and this remains the case when differences in entry qualifications have been taken into account. The present study investigated whether the under-attainment of ethnic minority students might be due to the nature of the feedback that they receive...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Education can be dramatically enhanced by social networks, a report from The Open University claims. The so-called ‘network effect’ comes from many thousands of people learning from each other, but it needs careful management to reach its full potential. The movement of education from the classroom and onto social networks is one of the key trends...
Conference Paper
Educators in massive open online courses (MOOCs) face the challenge of interacting with tens of thousands of students, many of whom are new to online learning. This study investigates the different ways in which lead educators position themselves within MOOCs, and the various roles that they adopt in their messages to learners. Email messages from...
Conference Paper
OpenEssayist is an automated feedback system designed to support university students as they write essays for assessment. A first generation prototype of this system was tested on a cohort of postgraduate distance learners at the UK Open University from September to December 2013. A case study approach was used to examine three participants’ experi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper describes the design and rationale behind a classification scheme for English margin comments. The scheme's design was informed by pragmatics and pedagogy theory, and by observations made from a corpus of 24,387 margin comments from assessed university assignments. The purpose of the scheme is to computationally explore content and form...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The first international workshop on discourse-centric learning analytics (DCLA) took place at LAK13 in Leuven, Belgium. That workshop succeeded in its aim of catalysing ideas and building community connections between those working in this field of social learning analytics. It also proposed a mission statement for DCLA: to devise and validate anal...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper reports the findings of an empirical investigation, which set out to test a set of rainbow essay exercises The rainbow diagrams are pictorial representations of formal graphs that are derived automatically from student essays .They were designed to allow students to discover how key concepts in a well written essay are connected together...
Article
Full-text available
The SAFeSEA project (Supportive Automated Feedback for Short Essay Answers) aims to develop an automated feedback system to support university students as they write summative essays. Empirical studies carried out in the initial phase of the system’s development illuminated students’ approaches to and understandings of the essay-writing process. Fi...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents observations that were made about a corpus of 135 graded student essays by analysing them with a computer program that we are designing to provide automated formative feedback on draft essays. In order to provide individualised feedback to help students to improve their essays, the program carries out automatic essay structure r...
Article
Full-text available
Open online learning courses such as cMOOCs and xMOOCs differ from conventional courses yet it remains uncertain how, and if, existing common yet costly practices associated with teacher-driven formative and summative assessment strategies can be made to work in this new context. For courses that carry no charge for registration or participation, a...
Chapter
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Chapter
Full-text available
This paper reports on the SAFeSEA project (Supportive Automated Feedback for Short Essay Answers), conducted by the Open University and Oxford University, which set out to assist students in writing draft essays. The project explored a number of feedback mechanisms to facilitate this process. One such mechanism was investigating how to offer suppor...
Chapter
Feedback given to learners should provide opportunities to improve the learning experience. It should comprise constructive feedback to improve learning as well as socio-emotive feedback. Tutors in large courses often resort to grading devoid of effective feedback. To support them in improving their feedback, they need effective feedback on the fee...
Chapter
Open Mentor is a tool to support tutors in the feedback process and addresses the following problem: that a balanced combination of socio-emotive and cognitive support is required in the feedback from teaching staff and the feedback needs to be relevant to the assigned grade.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
OpenEssayist is an automated, interactive feedback system designed to provide an acceptable level of support for students as they write essays for summative assessment. There are two main components to the system: (1) a linguistic analysis engine and (2) a web application that generates feedback for students The main pedagogical challenge in the e-...
Chapter
As TEL interventions move away from supporting existing learning activities and practices towards disrupting them and/or enabling radically new ones, evaluation approaches need to change accordingly. By removing the pre-specified design objectives we also remove traditional benchmarks against which we evaluate, such as measures of cognitive learn...