Options for external assessors in PebblePad

If your students are undertaking an internship or placement, you can use PebblePad to obtain feedback from their clinical, placement or field supervisor.

This role is known as an ‘external assessor’ in PebblePad. The external assessor can be set up in different ways, so the option you choose will depend on:

  • How much security you need
  • How much time you have to administer accounts
  • How much time external assessors will have to assess students
  • Whether external assessors will be able to meet with the student face to face and use the student’s device to sign off work.

The options are:

  1. Digital signatures
  2. Student-created accounts
  3. University-created accounts

Use this guide to pick the option that’s right for you. We have linked to the actual ‘how-to’ guides after each option.

We recommend that you use ‘student-created assessors’ or ‘digital signatures’ for most use cases, and that you use one method consistently. That is, we don’t recommend mixing different methods in one subject. If you want to use ‘University created accounts’, we recommend you submit a request to LE to discuss further.

Option 1. Digital signatures

When to use

  • Assessors will be physically co-located with students and able to use the student’s device
  • The document signed won’t need to be updated much (or at all) after signing
  • You don’t know ahead of time who will be supervising/signing off the work.

How it works

If you need external assessors to verify something, such as a student’s completion of a task – and if the student and the assessor will be physically co-located – you can use digital signatures in a PebblePad worksheet or workbook.

With digital signatures, a student completes an item in PebblePad, such as a self-assessment, a record of a feedback conversation or a timesheet, and then hands their logged-in device to the external assessor. The external assessor then digitally signs using a mouse or touch screen.

Sample digital signature block, showing text fields for name and email address, and a drawing field for a signature.

For security, you may elect to require the assessor’s name and email address to accompany the signature. (PebblePad will email the nominated address to notify them of the sign-off.) You may also elect to ‘lock down’ the worksheet after it is signed.

Options for digital signatures include verification options (such as requiring name and email address for signatories) and locking options (such as removing the signature if the worksheet is edited later).

Benefits and limitations

The external assessor does not require an account for digital signatures, so this option saves time both for the external assessor and for University staff. However, because it only works in person, this option is not suitable for remote placements, or placements where the supervisor may not be able to sign in front of the student.

Option 2. Student creates account for external assessors

If your students will need more substantive written feedback from an external assessor, the assessor will need an account as an ‘External’ in ATLAS. A simple method is for your students to create accounts when they share their work with the external assessor.

When to use

  • There are a large number of external assessors, or assessors change regularly (e.g., large placement subjects)
  • Students and supervisors cannot meet in person or will not be able to sign off on devices while in the room together
  • You have limited capacity to create and administer external assessor accounts.

How it works

With student-created accounts, the student nominates the name and email address of their external assessor, and shares their work in PebblePad.

PebblePad Share dialogue showing the “with an external assessor” option.

The external assessor then logs in and accesses the student’s work in a simplified dashboard, which only shows the work that has been actively shared with them. Depending on the settings you have selected in your ATLAS workspace, external assessors will be able to leave feedback and fill out ‘assessor-only fields’. University staff will be able to see the names of the individuals who leave external assessor feedback.

Sample portfolio viewed in ATLAS with feedback comments. Username of external assessor is visible.

Benefits and limitations

This option is helpful for cases where internship/placement supervisors need to leave feedback but will not be in the same room as students. It is also helpful for situations where students will be going on placements at a variety of locations – managing accounts for so many supervisors can be unwieldy – or if students may change location or supervisor during the term. However, there is the possibility for students to share incorrectly (i.e., they may share ‘with a person’ instead of sharing ‘with an external assessor), or they may type the wrong email address. For that reason, it is best to use student-created assessors when University staff will have ultimate control over the final grades and feedback. It is also important to share instructions with students and external assessors.

Option 3. The University creates accounts for external assessors

For more security, you can choose to have someone in your teaching team (i.e., someone within the University) set up accounts for external assessors. This way, you can verify the names and email addresses of the assessors.

When to use

  • You have a set number of external assessors that is unlikely to change from placement to placement
  • You have some capacity to create and administer accounts in the system
  • You need security to ensure that any assessment or sign off is completed by the external assessor.

How it works

In this option, staff from the University pre-create accounts for external assessors, ideally before the teaching period starts. When setting up accounts, you can create accounts individually, or paste details from a CSV. During the term, students share their work, usually with ATLAS, and the assessors log in to ATLAS through their pre-created accounts to assess the students’ work.

Depending on logistical and privacy needs, you may choose to set up one external assessor per student, one account for an entire centre, or set up one external assessor with a particular section or ‘set’ of students. If desired, you can even set it up so that the student selects their own external assessor from the pre-created accounts.

Benefits and limitations

This is a more secure option, but if your students have many different external supervisors, or if staff rotate or change during their placement, you can end up with a great deal of account management, administration and troubleshooting to do. If University staff are going to enter the final grade and the external assessor is for feedback only, the security benefit may not justify the workload for you.

This guide was last updated 09 Feb 2023.
Please report any errors or omissions in this guide by submitting an LMS support request.

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