Assessments should be designed to measure whether students have achieved your learning outcomes. A tight connection between your learning outcomes and your assessments will help guide you as you design an assessment plan. One strong benefit of online learning is the ability to provide regular, consistent, and instant feedback on assessments. Designing regular low stakes assessments, and providing students with feedback on their answers, can contribute significantly to student success.
There are tools built into most course management systems that allow you to create assessments that are linked directly to your course grade book. For a look at specific Blackboard tools review the Overview of Technology Tools and Assessing Student Learning Using Rubrics.
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Assessing the Discussion Forum
For many students participating in an asynchronous discussion is a new experience. In a completely online course the discussion board takes the place of in class discussion. In order for there to be meaningful and engaging dialogue it is important students know what is it expected of them both from a quantity and quality standpoint. It can be helpful to encourage students to post early and often and remind them that showing up after the discussion has ended is like coming to class after it had ended. An example of guidelines might be:
- Respond with one original post by Wednesday, one reply by Friday, and a second reply by Sunday.
- Remember this is the minimum number of times you are required to post.
- Your reply should move the conversation forward. “I agree” is not an acceptable reply.
You can also use peer assessment.