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Assessment Challenges and Proposed Solutions

Credit Bearing Online Courses Assessment Challenges

Academic Integrity – Cheating is easier and hard to detect online

  • Timed and open-book exams
  • Randomized questions from a large pool
  • Multiple versions of an exam
  • Randomized choices of answers
  • Plagiarism detecting software
  • Ask questions that cannot be gathered from Internet searches, questions that require opinions and analysis of content presented – Critical thinking, Synthesizing, analyzing
  • Assessments that are performance based that require the students to present to the class
  • Ask students to sign a document indicating that they will uphold academic integrity as they take each assessment
  • Proctored exams or lockdown browsers

Large Classes – Exam in a large class is a challenge

  • One solution is having student grade each other (peer grading/peer assessment)
  • Creative use of TAs in grading
  • Use Gradescope

Need to purposefully create interactions between students

  • Group projects
  • Peer reviewed work
  • Student-led discussions

Need to purposefully create interactions between instructor and students – Frequent assessment for and of learning

  • Short frequent assessments to test knowledge and stay connected
  • Extensive, meaningful, timely and personalized feedback on all assessments
  • Use of office hours to create a dialogue with students and gauge their learning
  • Summary – explain the muddiest point
  • Response to emails in a timely manner as well as quality of the message
  • Respectful interactions, demonstrate concern for their progress and provide meaningful feedback for improvement
  • Encourage active learning – higher order learning

Students need more structure online

  • Short frequent assessments to test knowledge to help them focus and stay on task – not helpful for synthesis and analysis
  • Pre-test as a diagnostic measure to assess student knowledge and tailor instruction to their needs
  • Break up large papers and projects into smaller deliverable milestones that will culminate into a final delivery of the assignment
  • Guide participations and discussions, it will encourage students to participate often and stay on task – keep grading weight to a minimum as it is not assessment but part of engagement
  • Post weekly announcements summarizing how they are doing and give them an anchor on where they are in the learning process

Performance assessment requires use of effective technology

  • Help students create presentations or performances using available technology or open source technology
  • Create spaces using technology to connect and create group projects
  • Give students options to create projects using mind mapping tools or other technologies that prompt them to use creative approaches to their projects

Student expectations differ from f2f to online, they require more visual and interactive presentations online

  • Add visuals to your assessments
  • Make assessments interactive
  • Generate tests that require:
    • Creating images
    • Identifying parts of images related to content
    • Filling in answers based on hot spots on an image

Students with accommodations – Need print copies

  • Mail copies to their space
  • Ensure they have access to printers

Lab and Design Course Assessments

A. Hands-on Instruction: Students need to develop kinesthetic skills using tools, a task and assessment that are harder to replicate in the online environment

B. Inquiry-based Instruction: Students are provided with materials and information but are given the freedom to design the experiment. Can be replicated and assessed online with some adjustments

C. Discovery-process Instruction: Students are directed to solve a problem or come up with hypotheses to meet the stated outcome. Can be assessed online with adjustments

  • Use Virtual labs to replicate the assessment task and assess student performance
  • Use simulation from open education resources and ask students to analyze processes, outcomes, research design, etc.
  • Help students create presentations or performances using available technology or open-source technology
  • Create spaces using technology to connect and create group projects
  • Give students options to create projects using mind mapping tools or other technologies that prompt them to use creative approaches to their projects
  • Provide students with raw data and ask them to analyze them

Problem-based Learning:  Requires students to engage in teamwork and are dependent on others on the team to solve the problem. Can be assessed online with adjustments

  • Help students create presentations or performances using available technology or open source technology
  • Create spaces using technology to connect and create group projects
  • Give students options to create projects using mind mapping tools or other technologies that prompt them to use creative approaches to their projects

Experiential Learning Course Assessments

A. Outcomes of experiential learning can be varied and unpredictable

B. Students may choose to solve a problem differently

  • Give students the freedom to choose how their work will be evaluated. They can be part of creating the grading rubric
  • Ask students to create a reflective journal to document reflections on their experiences

A. Experiences and learning from the same event may differ between students

B. Process and output are both important in experiential leaning – the challenge could be that they may align to separate learning outcomes and criteria

  • Have students create a digital portfolio to showcase the best of their work
  • Students can create presentations and reports using available technology
  • Students can self-evaluate and reflect on their experiences and performance
  • Formative assessments in the form of short quizzes where students can evaluate their improvement and weaknesses
  • Instructor assesses the students learning orally, using a videoconferencing tool
  • Ask students to develop a project using lessons learned: Project could be individual or in teams
  • Peer group evaluation of the student’s work
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    provost@jhu.edu

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