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Assessment in Online Courses: Practical Examples Dr. Roger Von Holzen Ms. Darla Runyon Northwest Missouri State University Heard in the Halls “If we are to be required to assess educational quality and learning by virtue of how long a student sits in a seat…

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assessment in online courses practical examples

Assessment in Online Courses: Practical Examples

Dr. Roger Von Holzen

Ms. Darla Runyon

Northwest Missouri State University

heard in the halls
Heard in the Halls

“If we are to be required to assess educational quality and learning by virtue of how long a student sits in a seat…

we have focused on the wrong end of the student.”Laura Palmer Noone

heard in the halls3
Heard in the Halls
  • “How do you do online exams?”
    • Question based on notion that online assessment must follow assessment methods used on campus
      • Not necessarily true
  • In an online environment
    • Major change to the role of the instructor
      • Shift from the deliverer of content to student mentor
    • Function of assessment techniques must also change*
an interactive mentoring opportunity
An Interactive Mentoring Opportunity
  • Need to view assessment as a teaching tool and not as an evaluation mechanism
  • Use quizzes and tests as interactive mentoring opportunities
    • Enable students to evaluate their own progress through the course materials*
beyond the rhetoric
Beyond the Rhetoric
  • Quizzes and tests should be viewed as means of promoting learning
    • Open book and extensive testing time
  • Should be only a small component of the overall assessment strategy for the online course*
beyond the rhetoric7
Beyond the Rhetoric
  • Evolution from seat-time/credit hours to outcomes-based education as a measure of learning
    • Acknowledging present reality
  • What matters is whether the student has actually learned
  • Bloom’s Taxonomy

Often difficult to getfaculty to change*

the new role of assessment
The New Role of Assessment
  • Assessment techniques should be based on desired learning outcomes
  • Assessment results should be used by students to evaluate progress through course materials
  • Provide the instructor with:
    • evidence of effectiveness of course materials
    • indications of content areas that need further enhancement and/or development*
assessment strategy
Assessment Strategy
  • Cumulative process
  • Aids in forming student assessment profiles
    • snapshot of student understanding
  • Profile constructed by:
    • building learning outcomes based on critical course content
    • use of applicable assessment methods to determine student’s understanding of learning outcomes*
assessment strategy11
Assessment Strategy
  • Provides guidance to further develop conceptual framework
  • Continuous process (formative)

Should guide the student to mastery of the learning outcomes

Assessment strategy becomes foundation for developing the instructional design of the online course*

learning outcomes
Learning Outcomes
  • Determine critical course content
    • Discern what the students should know or accomplish based on the critical content
      • What must the student know in order to function in authentic situations?
    • Decide what evidence is acceptable as proof of knowledge or accomplishment of the learning outcome
      • Selected student performance must furnish the method of assessment of critical content*
communication of learning outcomes
Communication of Learning Outcomes
  • Include in syllabus
  • List in course introductory module
  • List for each individual module or unit
  • Convey in related activities and assignments*
assessment strategy steps
Assessment Strategy Steps
  • Assist faculty in integrating new assessment techniques and developing an overall assessment strategy
  • Administer pre-assessment
    • Provides guidance in the development of appropriate learning activities
  • Present critical concepts through interactive, instructional concepts and activities*
assessment strategy steps15
Assessment Strategy Steps
  • Punctuate course with short assessment opportunities
    • Provide student with performance feedback on learning concepts and activities
    • Provide a diverse array of assessment methods to reflect student understanding of the learning outcomes
    • Provide opportunities for relearning and reassessment*
assessment strategy steps16
Assessment Strategy Steps
  • Develop a post-assessment (summative)
    • Provides evaluation of the overall student performance
    • Indicates ultimate mastery of critical content and ability to incorporate content into appropriate situations*
online assessment17
Online Assessment
  • Provides an organized and systematic approach to assessment
    • Digital exam building features
      • Variety of traditional testing methods are available
        • Multiple Choice
        • True and False
        • Fill-in-the-Blank
        • Multiple Answer
        • Ordering
        • Matching
        • Short Answer/Essay
      • Options to pool questions and control the delivery of the material*
online assessment18
Online Assessment
  • Traditional methods should only be a small component of the overall assessment strategy
  • Learning outcomes should be assessed using applicable assessment techniques
  • Online delivery provides an environment conducive to incorporating
    • a diverse array of assessment techniques
    • strategies that may be employed across a variety of course subject areas*
online assessment19
Online Assessment
  • Flexibility of delivery allows for a more student-centered approach to assessment and feedback
  • Proctored exams
    • Some situations may require on-site examinations
    • Expenses and effort involved must be considered*
course design and development
Course Design and Development
  • Faculty need to discuss and develop new perspectives on assessment
  • Issues pertaining to academic dishonesty and conduct in an online course should be examined*
academic policies
Academic Policies
  • Academic dishonesty and honor code policies should be clearly stated early in the course
    • Include in the course syllabus
  • Incorporate a student agreement*
dealing with plagiarism
Dealing with Plagiarism
  • A paper development process should be followed
    • Paper or Project Prospectus
      • A brief, structured first-draft plan for a term paper or term project
    • Submission of rough drafts
  • Communicate with students to learn their writing style*
one sentence summary
One-Sentence Summary
  • Challenges students to answer the questions "Who does what to whom, when, where, how, and why?" about a given topic, and then to synthesize those answers into a single summary sentence.
  • Incorporate within digital journals*
one minute submission
One Minute Submission
  • The instructor asks students to submit comments related to the following two questions: "What was the most important thing you learned from this lesson?" and "What important question remains unanswered?"
  • Students then submit their responses via e-mail or in a threaded discussion*
punctuated lectures
Punctuated Lectures
  • Requires students to go through four steps:

1. listen/view a lecture or demonstration

2. reflect on the lecture or demonstration after a portion of the presentation has been completed

3. write down any insights gained

4. submit feedback to the instructor in the form of short notes

  • Could be incorporated as part of a threaded discussion*
concept maps
Concept Maps
  • Drawings or diagrams showing the connections that students make between a major concept the instructor focuses on and other concepts they have learned
  • Maps could be generated within the online whiteboard*
analytic memos
Analytic Memos
  • Requires students to write a one- or two-page analysis of a specific problem or issue
  • Audience identified as an employer, a client, or a stakeholder who needs the student's analysis in the decision-making process*
exam evaluations
Exam Evaluations
  • Allows instructor to obtain student feedback about exam or specific exam questions
  • May help provide verification as to the authorship of exam answers*

“In attempting to harness the capabilities of digital interfaces, the mistake is often made of recreating a classroom-teaching model within an online learning environment.

Online technology designed to mimic the classroom becomes a restriction and a barrier to the teacher’s ability to impart knowledge.” Nishikant Sonwalkar


Dr. Roger Von Holzen, Director

Center for Information Technology in Education

Ms. Darla Runyon

Assistant Director/Curriculum Design Specialist

Center for Information Technology in Education