Student assessment is an important part of any course, whether it is taught online or on campus. Student assessment serves two purposes:
- To verify students’ accomplishment of the learning outcomes, and
- To gather feedback on the instruction and organization of the course content.
There are a few things to consider when deciding on the assessment approaches used in your course.
- What activities are appropriate to assess the students’ knowledge and achievement of the learning outcomes?
- Do the assessment strategies chosen align with the learning outcomes and instructional strategies employed in the course?
- Will you include online mini-quizzes to check student’s knowledge of core concepts?
- Will you use learning journals that encourage students to reflect, assess their progress and analyze their experiences?
- What will be the grading criteria and standards be? Will Rubrics be used?
- How will the final grades be calculated? What is the overall grading scheme for the course?
Alternate Assessment Methods to Papers and Exams
The following is a list of assessment methods that can be used as alternatives to the standard assessment method of essay assignments and unit, midterm and final exams. Regardless of the assessment method chosen, you should clearly communicate the description, instructions and grading criteria.
- Take home exams
- Case studies
- Individual/group learning activities
- Electronic portfolios
- Learning journals (electronic journals, blogs)
- Student web page projects
- Discussion forum participation
Assignments for an online course should be electronically submitted to the instructor and returned to the students within the learning management system, Brightspace (Desire2Learn). When using postal mail, students are often near completion of their course before receiving feedback. If using exams, time zones must be considered as students are from all over the world. Returning of exams to the university for grading may take time. So this should be taken into consideration as well.
The instructional designer and assistant to the instructional designer will review the different tools available and the variety of ways for instructors to provide feedback electronically to students. Training can be provided and resources are available on CITL’s Technology Resources site.