17 March 2009

Digital Assessment: Adobe's Guide

Adobe provides a rich guide to Digital Assessment intended for use with their product, Adobe Acrobat. This style of assessment is introduced as appropriate for multimedia and other electronic student works. The primary means of assessment using Acrobat software is simple markup, the process by which you can add a "layer" of notes and graphics on top of a student page. The system requires that students submit their work as PDF files (or the instructor must convert Word documents and other file types to PDF).

Two powerful techniques (powerful in terms of impact on students) are placing audio comments in the PDF and adding comments to individual frames of video. Audio comments are embedded in the PDF and can then be heard by students opening the file with Adobe Reader. Instructors must consider whether a transcript of the audio clip is also appropriate; providing alternative access to comments is a best practice in educational technology. The audio clip can be created within Adobe Acrobat without use of any other software (newer versions of Acrobat required).

Commenting on video (frame by frame) is an appropriate assessment technique when students submit video embedded in a PDF. Because the instructor feedback can be tied directly to the work, assessment is stored in the most convenient location even if the student's video submission is additionally made through other channels.

For assessment archives, PDF files provide a compact method of storing student works. Video files, especially, are handled conveniently.

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Email contact: bold[AT]marybold.com. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as legal or professional advice. Bold is the co-author of Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. She is a consultant and speaker on assessment, distance learning, and technology.

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