This paper describes the results of an eighteen month study evaluating what students' perceptions were of digital ink feedback on electronic assignments. It was a comparative study with 10 distance learning lecturers, (hereafter referred to as tutors) marking up to a maximum of 600 students' electronic assignments over, two nine month presentations of the UK Open University (OU) course, T175 Networked Living. Assignments were submitted by students over the internet to a centralised web depository called the electronic tutor marked system (eTMA) at the OU, in Microsoft Word. Tutors downloaded these assignments onto their own computers and in this study; half of the assignments were marked and edited using a Personal Computer (PC) with conventional keyboard input, using word processing software. The other half of the assignments were marked using a Tablet PC in which it is possible to create a layer over, the Microsoft Word submission and then write directly onto the screen of the Tablet PC using a pen, as if writing on paper. The hand-written feedback was saved or converted to typed text and then saved. In the first presentation of the course over 67% of students made positive comments about how their tutor had used the Tablet PC in providing feedback. This study also showed that the digital ink technology could help extend pedagogy and is of interest to Higher Education establishments considering on-line submission of assessment
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