Creating assessment opportunities

New online instructors often wonder if the lack of physical and social cues makes it more difficult to assess performance and provide constructive feedback to students online. The best way to get to know your students and what type of work they are capable of is through the use of informal and formal assessments throughout your course.

The best practices of effective assessment include timely feedback, frequent opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know, variety, and opportunities for revision and reflection.

Use assessments throughout your course to let students demonstrate what they’ve learned and to get a better sense of whether or not they are grasping the course material.

Assessment methods

Any type of assignment can be used as a means of assessing your students, from “formative” assessment—which is given as part of the instructional sequence for the purpose of measuring progress and giving feedback but may or may not be graded— to “summative” assessment—a graded exam or assignment that takes place at the end of an instructional sequence or as the final exam of the course (Ko & Rossen, 2010).

Formative assessment examples include discussion boards, blogs, wikis, self-tests, and exercises. Summative assessments are the exams, written assignments, group work, and other activities that represent a larger portion of the student’s final grade. The summative assessment also requires that the instructor provide feedback to the student.

Remember that it is best practice to align your assessments with your learning objectives. So make sure you keep that in mind during the design phase of your course development. You cannot assess students on anything other than the materials you have built in the lesson. This strategy gives students the opportunity to meet the objectives by providing some real-world problems for them to solve.

The following Assignment and Assessment Tools chart details examples of assignment and assessment tools you can use in your course.

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