AUT is currently working out a scheme that will extend its online submission process by enabling nearly all students to hand in their assignments online rather than in person. When initiated it will apply to all assignments that are suited to online submission.
Currently most students must come into university to drop off a physical copy of their assignments in addition to submitting it to Turnitin. However, the new scheme would eliminate the need to drop off most assignments in person.
The date the scheme will go live is unknown at this stage, however AUT’s Senior Management expect it to take around two years to fully implement.
The idea was campaigned for by AUTSA’s Student Representative Council, who believe students, particularly those who work or have other commitments, need to be given the flexibility to hand in work online.
According to Nadine Tupp, AUTSA’s Acting Student President, the scheme would reduce financial pressures due to the cost of printing, parking and public transport. She says it would also reduce time pressures for students who have to come into university to drop off documents.
“This year I've been involved in a working group with AUT Senior Management to work out what the implementation of this programme could look like.
“Although not all assignments can be submitted online, such as artworks or product designs, for essays and written assignments it removes the pressure for many students of having to physically hand in a copy as well as submitting online.”
Professor Geoff Perry, AUT’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, says in general students and staff have been positive towards the new initiative.
“There are a number of pros [with electronic hand-in]. One is that this is something the students are very interested in and I think it meets the needs of many students more so than physically having to come in and drop something at a particular point in time.”
Professor Perry says electronic submissions also make sense practically, as most students are already handing their assignments into the academic integrity software Turnitin.
According to Dr Ineke Kranenburg, AUT’s Academic Director, when the nuts and bolts of implementing the scheme are figured out, it will be carried out and apply to almost all courses at AUT.
“The intent is where appropriate to enable students to submit online. So we would expect that to be for most cases, but there could be a very good reason why you wouldn’t submit an assessment online.”
However, Dr Kranenburg states that some courses may not allow online hand-in due to practical reasons, like practical assignments or assignments that include complex formulas, for example.
“There’s an overwhelming view that this should be the way to go, but there would be areas where it wouldn’t be suitable and usually those are about student learning or effectiveness of the online system for the type of assessment task – they’re not about staff not being capable.”
Professor Perry says the scheme is currently being deliberated among AUT’s schools and academic committees.