Our 10 step EMA process

This post is intended to support an activity during the Jisc Learning and Teaching Experts Practice Group meeting on 14th October.

One of the aims of our EMA work is to help you implement processes that meet all necessary quality standards but which are no more complex than they need to be. Principles underlying the approach are:

  • Ensuring tasks are carried out by the right people. We have identified tasks as being: a learner responsibility, an administrative matter or a task requiring academic expertise
  • Automating any routine administrative tasks that can be automated. Digital information immediately opens up possibilities for streamlining the manual workload associated with dealing with vast quantities of paper
  • Ensuring processes are undertaken for sound academic reasons. We hope you will use the resources we produce to challenge complexity that exists for no better reason than “We’ve always done it that way”

Our resources are intended to help you identify what a process needs to achieve, what skill set is needed and where information systems can help. What we can’t do is design standard workflows that will suit your institution. Individual workflows will depend on how your organisation is structured and what information systems it uses. You may well have different workflows for different assessment situations and this is fine so long as you are sure there is a valid reason why each variant exists.

Shown below is our 10 step overview of the submission, marking and feedback process. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Submission, marking and feedback process i2 - New Page

This model covers all types of summative assessment where there is a mark given as well as feedback. It also covers iterative processes where students might undertake formative checking of their own work using text matching tools to review academic integrity, might undertake self or peer review and might be required to show evidence that they have engaged with their feedback before their mark is released.

Why are there 11 task boxes rather than 10? Call it cheating but we decided that ‘Apply penalty or mitigation’ is single task but might occur at different times depending for example on whether the penalty was for late submission or academic misconduct.

This is a high level overview. There is no right or wrong way to draw a process map – you need to choose the level that is right for you. For example you might choose to break down some of the sub processes further.

At the moment we are working on how to present process maps and associated system requirements in a way that helps both institutions and suppliers.

Below is an example of the submission phase broken down into more detail. This time we have identified the role of the EMA system to show which tasks can be fully automated. Hovering over a box will show the system requirements associated with the task and clicking a question mark will highlight common issues for institutions.

We suggest you use this model to compare against your own practice and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you doing additional tasks – if so, why?
  • Are the tasks being done by the right people eg do you have academic staff undertaking administrative duties that do not require academic judgement?
  • Do you have systems that could carry out some of the tasks you are doing manually?
  • Do you have multiple ways of performing the same task – if so, why?

We invite the Jisc Learning and Teaching Experts Practice Group to provide feedback on how the models are presented. There are currently 3 options:

  1. By clicking on the image to go to an interactive diagram in a separate window.

assignment submission swimlanes

2. A link to the image in an interactive diagramming tool.


3. A link to an interactive PDF. We think this works very well in Adobe but may render less well if you are using a different PDF reader.

Submission swim lanes i4





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