Is it possible to assess social bookmarking activities?

Grant type: Hot Topic
Round: Hot Topics 2010/11
Amount awarded £50.00
Completed: March 2011
Leader(s): Miss Anne-Florence Dujardin
Organisation: Sheffield Hallam University
Contact Email: a-f.dujardin@shu.ac.uk
Contact phone: 01142255280
Start Date: 8 February 2011
End Date: 9 February 2011

The social bookmarking platform Diigo offers facilities for conversation, and can therefore supports higher order cognitive activities. A digital version of Bloom’s taxonomy (Churches 2009) helps identify the potential of social bookmarking in Higher Education: with appropriate tutor guidance students can go beyond ‘remembering’ (ie create bookmarks) and ‘understanding’ (ie use tags), and start ‘evaluating’ (ie offer comments) and even ‘creating’ (ie plan and design essays). The task design is important too; for example, social bookmarking could be used to support the writing of a literature review.

Once higher-level skills comes into play, assessment becomes possible, particularly if the marking scheme reflects both the cognitive and social nature of social bookmarking. For example, up to 10% of a module mark could be allocated, to recognise:

• the number and type of texts that a student bookmarks (up to 2%); students will know what to expect if a minimum number of bookmarks is set, and will be encouraged to find references beyond recommended readings
• the quality of commentary given for each bookmark (up to 6%); this will emphasize that the ability to make connections and to critique is key to the productive use of social bookmarking (not just listing and tagging)
• the sociability of the contributions, that is, the level of interaction with peers (up to 2%); derived from Preece’s work on online communities (2000, 2004), this criterion stresses the value of conversing with peers, somewhat informally, to develop ideas.

You can find more information in a blogpost.