Consider some ofo these best practices, tips, and resources when planning your online learning assessments:
Aligning the learning outcomes from your course with assessment strategies will give you the opportunity to check that your students are accomplishing the learning outcomes.
|Learning Outcomes||Assessment Strategies|
|Identify...||Post photographs, complete a quiz|
|Describe...||Write an essay, create a graph|
|Analyze...||Write a lab report, relate a theory to a real world scenario|
|Create...||Write programming code, build a model|
|Synthesize...||Create a blog or wiki, complete a research paper|
Using a variety of assessment techniques throughout the course provides instructors with the best picture of their students' learning. While there is no rule about what works best, and different subject matters call for different types of assessments, the following are some generalized methods that work well in an online environment (adapted from Palloff and Pratt, 2009).
In an online environment, the potential for students to become confused by coursework expectations may be higher than in a traditional class setting. As a result, it is crucial that assignment instructions and expectations for student work are made clear from the beginning. Providing students with written instructions for each assignment can be helpful.
Design and use grading rubrics to provide clear guidelines about what constitutes quality work. Rubrics can be tailored to fit the needs of the instructor. Some resources and websites you can use to build rubrics can be found at the link below.
Timely and frequent feedback is especially important in an online environment where the chance for students to become confused or feel alienated is greater than in a traditional course. Ask students early in the term how the course is going and for suggestions for improvement.
Encourage students to develop good feedback skills by integrating peer feedback as a course component. Peer feedback promotes collaborative learning and can include responses to discussion posts or peer review of projects. Instructors should provide students with guidelines about how to give constructive feedback.
Require students to reflect on their learning at least twice during the course. Self-reflection increases students' ability to identify which concepts they understand versus those that are more challenging. Some methods for incorporating self-reflection of learning into assignments can be found at the follow link.
Assessment in an online environment can bring up concerns about cheating and plagiarism. RIT has institutional policies and practices in place to decrease the likelihood of such occurrences in any environment; however, there are several things an instructor can do to prevent cheating and plagiarism in an online course.
Administering Exams Online:
Offering exams in an online environment can be challenging for instructors. Opportunities for cheating are amplified online; however, requiring students to come to campus and sit for a proctored exam may not be possible. In general, online course assessment should not rely heavily on traditional exams. If an exam is necessary, instructors can do the following to minimize the possibility of cheating.
Additional recommendations for Best Practice Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Education from WCET can be found at http://wcet.wiche.edu/wcet/docs/cigs/studentauthentication/BestPractices.pdf.
There is much discussion about the challenges of assessment in the online environment; however, the online environment offers opportunities for innovative course design and assessment. Some examples of assessment techniques that can be enhanced in an online environment include:
For more information or help designing these assessments, go to RIT's Teaching & Learning Services website.
Here is a list of resources used to develop the Online Learning Assessment Best Practices, Tips, and Resources for Instructors.