Over the past decade, Online Assessment Strategies for Distance online learning has witnessed slow but steady progress, but it wasn’t until the last two years that it gained prominence. Higher educational institutes sought this as a perfect opportunity to establish their digital presence by offering varied programs and courses. This proved to be beneficial for those individuals who were looking to avail further studies without attending regular classes.
People studying distance courses look forward to an enriched learning experience but that would be difficult to accomplish without a proper structure. Moreover, if there is no centralised system that synchronises the content with learners then it could lead to organisational failure. Apart from an efficient workforce to facilitate a smooth operation an institute require strategies to provide a productive output.
Online learning can be successful only when the teachers take it upon themselves to come up with well-organised strategies. To not compromise on the quality and ensure overall development is the first priority. One of the main ways to do that is to assess student learning, but when it comes to implementing methods instructors often fall short.
Online Assessment Strategies for Distance and Learners
Written below are a few of the Online assessment strategies that can benefit both distance teachers and learners:
1) Independent Projects
One of the key tasks or activities that a teacher can assign to do in a distance course is independent projects. Topics related to real-world scenarios, case works emphasizing crucial events and incidents, documented reports on discoveries and researches are some instances of projects. Students can also work on a single substantial piece of task that assesses across multiple criteria.
Divide the class into groups of four and five and encourage them to participate equally. Teachers can use this activity to teach students web research skills including searching, finding credible sources and referencing.
The role of the teacher here is more of a supervisor who provides timely insights and guidance. He or she will not get too involved in the research process of the learners and will give them the space to execute the project by themselves. Another important aspect of this project is to establish clear deadlines within which they need to submit the task.
2) Peer assessments
Learning without feedback is inconclusive and incomplete, hence instructors can build a system of feedback. Initially, he/she needs to give a brief about how the system would work and then monitor the comments left by the students.
Discussion boards are an appropriate forum to upload any student’s work or it can also be done through synchronous tools. The aim here should be to provide constructive criticism that could ultimately help them to gain insights into their work. To maintain the integrity of peer feedback students can be paired opposite each other and they can critique individual work.
Alternatively, the commentary system can be made anonymous as well. The teachers must encourage the learners to give detailed and constructive feedback.
An effective way to analyse their own learning and understanding is by self-reflection. An excellent example is self-assessment through which learners can point out the gaps and difficulties that need to be resolved. Also, since instructors don’t see learners in action, self-assessment helps to give clarity regarding their progress level.
Google form surveys or questionnaires are the simplest ways of conducting self-assessments. Students can record written statements to express their doubts and opinions, this can be used further during discussions with parents and students alike.
4) Video presentations and podcasts
The use of multimedia in teaching is an integral part of online education but it is imperative to organise it properly. Institutes can implement a learning management system to help implement strategies that require the use of videos and audio. Students can use MS. Powerpoint presentations to elaborate on a research topic and include additional details.
Teachers can also encourage learners to host podcast sessions where they can engage in meaningful conversations about different topics. Scholarly activities such as these are instrumental in assessing students’ communication and confidence skills.
5) Discussion sessions
Theroterical practices have been in use for the longest time as a part of the traditional educational system. But the online education system relies more on practical approaches hence the emphasis lays more on skill enhancement. Bookish knowledge aids the gradual progression of student learning, but practical skills should be given more emphasis.
Conducting discussions during online classes will help to sharpen thinking skills as well as the communication ability of the learners. This can also be factored into a summative assessment apart from assessing students’ content knowledge and participation interest.
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