This is not the front page



Assessment is huge. It’s how you know students are understanding the material, and it can help you reflect and consider how well you’re meeting student needs.

Options for effective assessment can range from traditional testing and reporting measures to authentic activities such as projects that may require learners to engage in the real-life activities of investigation, collaboration, reflection, formulation, and creation. And, of course, there’s formative assessment, too –the use of no or low-stakes assessments that provide informal means of quickly assessing students’ understanding while also providing feedback to address misconceptions (Kearns, 2012).

Maybe you want some new ideas. Maybe you’re interested in using rubrics or in developing a better cycle of feedback or a system for learner self-assessment. Keep reading for ideas of how to enhance your assessment strategies.

Research and practical articles

  • Kearns, L. R. (2012). Student assessment in online learning: Challenges and effective practices. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 8(3), 198.
  • Kim, N., Smith, M. J., & Maeng, K. (2008). Assessment in online distance education: A comparison of three online programs at a university. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 11(1).
  • Martin, F., Ritzhaupt, A., Kumar, S., & Budhrani, K. (2019). Award-winning faculty online teaching practices: Course design, assessment and evaluation, and facilitation. The Internet and Higher Education, 42, 34-43.
  • Reeves, T.C., Herrington, J., & Oliver, R. (2002). Authentic activities and online learning. In A. Goody, J. Herrington, & M.Northcote (Eds.), Quality conversations: Research and Development in Higher Education, Volume 25 (pp. 562–567). Jamison, ACT: HERDSA.
  • Swan, K., Shen, J., & Hiltz, S. R. (2019). Assessment and collaboration in online learning. Online Learning, 10(1) doi: 10.24059/olj.c10i1.1770

Supporting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging 


Credit: Wildflowers from Pixabay is licensed under CC0.

Creating an inclusive teaching environment takes effort and dedication. Truly inclusive instructors do more than incorporate a friendly tone; they take responsibility for creating a welcoming environment, develop courses that are inclusive, and “change their teaching based on evidence about practices that support and challenge all students to thrive” (Addy, et al., 2021).

Using Constructivism to Help Students Build New Knowledge

cartoon brain with construction workers standing on it as though they are about to begin a building project

 Credit: © Amy Waters / Adobe Stock

Constructivist theories assert that to develop understanding and build new knowledge, learners must be actively engaged in seeking knowledge and information, not passively taking it in (Bada, 2018). As learners encounter the world around them, they build knowledge and integrate it into their existing personal knowledge base, also known as a schema.

Employing Microlearning with the Intention to Build Skills 

Fast & Short, One Learning Objective, Mobile-Friendly, Different types of media

Credit: modified from © bsd studio / Adobe Stock

Microlearning is an educational strategy wherein an educator “breaks down” complex tasks and behaviors into meaningful pieces that become powerful building blocks for learning. For instance, Darby notes in Small Teaching Online (Darby & Lang, 2019) that “successful coaches worked (with athletes) on small, fundamental skills that had powerful effects” on their learning. This intentional focus can be supported with an educator’s attention to delivery mode and timing.

Using Student-to-Student Interactions to Boost Engagement

Engaging students in class discussions and activities is always a challenging endeavor for instructors because there is no one-size-fits-all approach that will work to draw in everyone. Students will have varying degrees of interest in the topic, and not everyone will be able to find the same degree of relevance in the concepts presented.

Assessments as Learning Tools

A drawing of a brain with interlocking brains inside of it.

Credit: © Sergey Nivens / Adobe Stock

Assessment is a key characteristic of any course. However, how assessment is used and what forms of assessment are adopted (i.e. exams, papers, projects) can greatly affect students and their learning experience. Shifting assessment from a means of measurement to a form of inquiry can enable students to work actively and construct knowledge together (Hargreaves, 2007).

Employing Metacognition (Thinking about Your Own Learning) as a Learning Tool

cartoon. Man standing in a head filled with thousands of documents

Credit: HikingArtist is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Metacognition (thinking about your own learning) is a self-regulated behavior that students can use to gain control over their own learning. Self-regulated behaviors, like managing time effectively or asking for help, begin with monitoring, which helps us reflect upon or evaluate the information we’re trying to learn (I’m getting the answers wrong. Am I making simple mistakes, or don’t I understand the concept?).

Using Rubrics to Evaluate Student Work and Build Faculty Presence

Example of Rubric Thumbnail

Credit: © Penn State is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Rubrics frequently supplement forms of assessment and are used to evaluate student work and learning. They can be used for projects, presentations, discussions, and writing assignments. Learners can view the criteria on which they are being assessed and can work towards meeting the stated expectations. For instance, it is common to include a rubric for online discussion forums so that learners have a clear idea of the criteria that will be used for grading (i.e.

Using Infographics as an Assessment Strategy

Infographic on bringing the farm to school.

Credit: USDA Farm to School Census Infographic, Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0

The concept of presenting information in a visual format is not new. In fact, you may remember that ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphs as a visual form of communication. However, the use of information graphics (also referred to as infographics) in teaching and learning strategies still appears to be an emerging practice.