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phd candidate | assessment | edtech

Colin M. Madland

Educator, technology steward, and PhD candidate examining assessment in higher education at the University of Victoria.

Current Research

Assessment in Online Higher Education


Among the most important roles of instructors in higher education is the task of certifying that each individual learner in their course has achieved a particular standard in relation to the intended outcomes of the course and that achievement is both a valid and reliable measurement of the learner's true ability. The importance of this determination is a reflection of how student achievement data are used in not only summative course assessments, but also predicting future success, awarding scholarships, and determining acceptance into competitive programs. In order for this accounting for learning to accurately reflect the goals of any given course, it is necessary to ensure that the assessment strategy be aligned with course learning outcomes.

However, Broadfoot (2016) and Pellegrino and Quellmalz (2010) argue that the goals and intended outcomes for higher education have changed as society has become more saturated with digital technologies. These changes have precipitated parallel shifts in both the cognitive and affective competencies required of digitally literate citizens. Predictably, this has led to an increasing gap between traditional assessment structures which prioritize validity, reliability, fairness, and objectivity through psychometric analyses and modern goals of higher education prioritizing more affective constructs such as cooperation, empathy, creativity, and inquiry.

Photo by Mirasbek Nurseit on Unsplash

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I believe...

Philosophy of Teaching and Learning


The learner is most central to the process of learning. It is their motivations, backgrounds, contexts, and experiences that must first inform the structure of the learning environment and the approach taken in the learning process...


My philosophy and practice of teaching and learning is informed by the work of several historical and contemporary scholars and practitioners, including social constructivists like Dewey, Piaget, and Vygotsky, as well as more contemporary scholars who have advanced the Community of Inquiry model (Vaughan et al., 2013)...


I believe in the value of openness in education, which is enacted on several different levels, including participation, where barriers to access learning opportunities are removed and learners are invited into the community as contributors...

Innovation and Disruption

Pedagogical practices are ripe for disruption in higher education. It is no longer sufficient to 'cover' content and expect learners to repeat back what they have learned. Citizens in the 21st century require competence in collaboration, divergent thinking, empathy, and communication...

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Contact Me

I would love to help you out with any question you may have. Feel free to reach out. The best ways to contact me are through Twitter or GitHub!