This time last year my department desired to make use of ‘self-marking English homeworks’. It has been a worthy try, but ultimately proved to not be as fruitful as I hoped.

There is not much competition for self-marking English tasks. While Linguascope or MyMaths are heavily used and deliver useful formative information, the kind of data created by Doddle for English tasks is inherently less so.

Even reasonably quantifiable grammatical or vocabulary-in-context tests can only provide a % correct.

Summarised points:

1) Doddle is the only self-marking English interactive package at the moment.
2) A digital subscription is possible, as is a SCORM package for a VLE (yuk!).
3) Interface is clunky and slow. It still takes 5-15 minutes to allocate a homework to a class.
4) It is mandatory for students to read extensive PowerPoints prior to taking tests.
5) There is a pleasing range of content, and it is as good as anything at the moment.
6) Control over passwords is still locked-down. An admin should have access to passwords so they can be made generic, or printed and shared.
7) There have been some minor outages throughout the year. This is enough, though, to put off those who have to dedicate an inordinate amount of time to learn the interface.

I think that Doddle is perhaps best used for assessing students’ knowledge prior to a task. ¬†For example, being able to see how much students know about the terminology of letter writing can be useful (and reasonably extensive).

In all, I am going to keep following Boardworks, and hope that they revamp Doddle in the years to come.