In this section we discuss strategies of assessing students via Exams and Quizzes, Discussion ForumsGroup Participation, Peer Grading of Papers, as well as the uses of Self-reflection. We address Developing Rubrics, provide some examples of rubrics, and also address Plagiarism and Cheating

Learning Pyramid and Assessment strategies

Assessment strategies for online classes are listed below.  Some of these are more active than others but all have a place depending on the course and content you are teaching.

  • Blogs are good for expressing personal ideas and for reflective thinking. Outside comments can be included to promote group learning.  The personal nature of comments may or may not be appropriate to share in the larger group.
  • Case studies are a very good example of active learning exercises.  They require  upper level thinking skills and critical thinking.  They do however require more time to grade.
  • Collaborative assignments allow students to share ideas and learn to work collaboratively with each other.  They can be difficult in a totally online environment but are worth the effort. The biggest problems are common to all group work with unequal contribution to learning and difficulties in grading individual efforts.
  • Discussions or forums allow students to share ideas and learn from each other.  It recreates some of the active learning found in face-to-face interactions.  For the faculty they can be time consuming to follow and grade.  Student participation is often not good if this is not a graded assignment.  Faculty presence in the discussions is critical but faculty need to learn how to effectively participate.
  • Papers or other writing assignments requires upper level thinking skills.  They are not easily shared with a large online group and therefore not very interactive.  However they are an important part of the learning process.  Activities such as peer grading can make them more interactive.
  • Portfolios are an excellent culmination experience that pulls together learning and competencies from several courses. They require a clear purpose and focus and need to be developed over time. They require collaboration between different faculty to be sucessful.
  • Tests and quizzes are traditionally use to evaluate learning of facts.  They can be difficult to develop and are often unreliable in testing student competency.  They may or may not be criterion referenced and may not require higher thinking skills.  However they are easy to administer in an online environment and take less faculty time.  They also mimic testing that will be required by students to pass certification examinations and can provide a student with experience in taking those types of tests.
  • Virtual classroom presentations, and simulation with  discussion.  These experiences can be very real life.  They are often synchronous and therefore require scheduling of multiple students in potentially different time zones.  They also require some sophistication of both the faculty member and the learner to navagate the virtual world.
  • Wikis allow students to share ideas and learn to work collaboratively.  They are good to use when a group outcome is important.  They are also plagued by problems with unequal contribution by students and requires technology skills that are more advanced.

Other resources on assessment strategies:

Teaching, Learning and Technology
Merlot is a great repository for teaching and learning tools online
Instructional Design for learning online