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Just A Bit
Let's begin this series about online assessment tools by acknowledging that the online classroom is a very different place than a traditional classroom, especially in the high school environment. Whereas teachers must maintain physical control over a traditional classroom, online instructors must cultivate a social environment that is much more fluid.
Since students and instructors interact so differently in the online classroom, it makes sense that traditional assessment tools would be different as well. As you consider assessment in your online class, please think outside the box. Yes, there is room for traditional assessment techniques. This article will help you incorporate these in interesting ways. However, multiple choice, true/false, and other such assessment measures should only be a small fraction of the way you measure students. The next article, Online Assessment Tools for the Online Teacher-Group Games and Activities will give you alternatives to the traditional assesment techniques.
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A picture is worth a 1,000 words, right? Put the power of pictures to work in your online class and include them in your online assessment. For example, any diagrams that you use in teaching a course become automatic candidates for a test question. You may remove numbers, words, or captions, upload it to your testing program and ask questions about it. This strategy automatically puts the question you are asking in context for the student and allows him/her the comfort of seeing a familiar object.
A similar type of online assessment can be done with videos. Science demonstrations are common in my chemistry classroom. When it comes to test time, I like to play a video of a demonstration (or an alternative from YouTube) and follow it with multiple choice or true/false questions. This type of assessment helps visual and aural learners connect with the material. You could easily incorporate video assessment into almost any subject matter if you play a clip from a film and then ask follow-up questions.
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Some traditional teachers do not have access to online teaching/learning tools. For these teachers, I would like to introduce www.schoolcandy.net.
This website is a free resource that allows teachers to upload tests and quizzes. You also have the ability to upload ppictures to go with your test questions. Students then take their exams online and the program instantly scores the work. Student feedback is also an option.
Whatever traditional or new assessment tools you choose for online assessment, consider the learning styles of your students. Vary the way you measure what they are learning and communicate with them in their "language." This will make the whole learning/testing process much more productive and enjoyable for all.