CEU faculty use a wide and innovative range of assessments that inspire intellectual inquiry and encourage critical thinking. These are the cornerstone of our courses, as they show us and students that meaningful learning has taken place during our time together. As with other course elements, some assessments may transition well to an online or hybrid setting, while other might need major or minor adjustments. Re-designing our courses gives us the opportunity to make them more accessible by creating varied and flexible ways for students to demonstrate their learning.
Formative Assessment and Checking Learning During Class Sessions
Formative assessments are low-stakes assignments and activities that take place throughout the semester. These are practice-oriented and allow students to practice skills and receive feedback before they approach the higher-stakes assessments, often at the end of the course. Whenever possible, building in opportunities for students to practice with low-stakes activities or assignments before a higher-stakes assessment is recommended (Linder, 2017). This does not mean, however, that all activities or assignments have to be graded. In fact, scholars are divided whether formative assessments should be graded. Some instructors grade formative assignments to incentivize students and to reduce the weight of the final assignment(s), reflecting the work students do across the term. Other instructors prefer to give feedback on formative assignments (and check on students' learning and progress), but only grade summative assessments.
Faculty can use Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) during live class sessions as formative assessment to quickly gauge students' comprehension of course content. CATs are usually simple and non-graded, and are meant to give faculty and students just-in-time feedback on the teaching-learning process. CATs help students solidify understanding, develop self-assessment skills, and feel less isolated. For faculty, CATs can provide useful feedback about what students have learned and allow them to address misconceptions before higher-stakes assessments (Vanderbilt Center for Teaching). The table below shares examples of CATs and suggestions for how to transition them to a technologically-enhanced setting.
CATS during Live Hybrid and Online Class Sessions
|Background Knowledge Probe||Engage/ Activate Prior Knowledge||
A simple questionnaire given to students at the beginning of a course or topic to uncover students' preconceptions
|Zoom poll or Microsoft Forms|
|Concept Mapping||Assess Understanding/ Collaborate||
Students work alone or in small groups to organize concepts and ideas and the relationships among them.
|Pro/ Con List||Assess Understanding/ Collaborate||
Students work alone or in small groups to analyze the pros and cons of an issue, dilemma, or decision.
|Shared document or Microsoft Whiteboard|
|One-Minute Paper||Assess Learning/ Reflect||
During the last few minutes of a class session, students write for one minute about what they learned and post it in chat or another shared space.
|Zoom chat, Shared document or Microsoft Forms|
|Muddiest Point||Assess Learning/ Reflect||
Students write about what they didn't understand about the lesson and where they think they might need help.
|Zoom chat, Shared Document or Microsoft Forms|
Sources: Dorner et al., 2020; Vanderbilt Center for Teaching
A great deal of assessment can also take place between live class sessions. Utilizing Moodle can be beneficial for faculty and students because assessments can be found, submitted, and graded in the same place throughout the course regardless of attendance method. Below is a list of commonly-used assessment features in Moodle with links to technical support resources.
- Assignments allow faculty to collect student work, review it, and provide feedback. Usually the instructor creates the activity and students upload their files or papers.
- The Quiz feature can be used to build quizzes and exams, which can then be submitted and graded in Moodle. Question formats include multiple choice, true-false, short answer, and long answer.
- Forums create a space for asynchronous student discussions. Students can start new discussions, view posts, and reply.
- H5P can be used to create interactive presentations and videos directly in Moodle. Grading is not available, so this is best used for practice activities.
- Perusall is an external tool in Moodle that allows faculty to upload readings and texts that students can annotate collaboratively.
Students can also use a wide range of external tools to complete alternative assignments, including podcasts, infographics, interactive maps, posters, digital archives, and portfolios. Instructors can give students a choice of format and tools so that they can select an approach that best matches their career and academic goals, experience, and workflow.
The Elkana Center is here to help transition assessments to an online or hybrid environment. For questions about Moodle, contact Gábor Ács (AcsG@ceu.edu). For a consultation on assessments, contact the Elkana Center Faculty (email@example.com).