Learning Centered Technology

Technology for the Educator

Creating Quality Online Courses: Assessments

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Creating Quality Online Courses: Assessments

In the previous post, we talked about learning outcomes or objectives, this session concerns assessments. As we are all aware, assessments are measurements of learning. Your job as the instructor is to assure your assessments align with your learning objectives. You are responsible to decide what evidence is acceptable as proof of knowledge, that your students have accomplished the learning outcomes. This proof reflects as much on you, the instructor, as it does on the students. Yes you will have unprepared students, but you should also view this as an opportunity to judge your course materials for effectiveness. How well your students perform on the assessments can reflect great course materials or the need to enhance or further develop your materials.

Assessments begin well before the first student takes an exam. Assessments are a part of the backbone of the course and based on your learning outcomes. A lot of consideration needs to happen in the design of the course. Assessments are not just about quizzes and essays it is about making sure learning outcomes are achieved. Make sure the assessments measure the stated learning objectives or competencies.

In addition to setting up the assessments in an online course, the course grading policy must be clearly stated, preferably in the syllabus, as well as on each activity. Make sure that criteria for completion of each assessment is available prior to the start of the assessment and make sure the assessment instruments are varied, and suited to the learner work being assessed.

Students must also be given multiple opportunities to track their learning progress. If they do not know their weakness how can they address the problems.

The online environment is very different from the traditional classroom. Much too often we want to focus on the amount of time a student sits in a seat, but if that is the case, we are focusing on the wrong end of the student. Time on task is important, but it is not everything. Our true objective is the learning. Assessments should accurately measure the learning of students as well as the materials provided in the classroom to teach the various concepts. Kept this concept in mind when designing the online classroom.


Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

March 21, 2016 at 9:00 am

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