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Online courses need a greater variety of assessments than do F2F courses - and they should be more frequent. The list below shows the many different types of assessments that can be used. Also, online instructors should always keep their grading current - giving students feedback explaining their grades and suggesting ways to improve. All this not only helps students manage and appraise their work, but also helps instructors to check their own course effectiveness.

Types of Assessment

Quizzes, Tests, Exams
  • Experiment with different question types (see the side bar for a list of Bb question types)
  • Live chat tests can work with small groups - call on students with questions allowing them to "pass" - use the recorded Bb transcript for grading (see tips on using chat in Using Groups)
  • It is helpful to students (although entails much work) if you write feedback to each test question choice (easy in Bb) with explanations for correct and incorrect answers - you can also cite where the correct information can be found (text, your course)
Discussion Boards
  • Grade Dbs weekly or by unit (integrate Dbs to the Bb Gradebook and use the Bb sort tool)
  • Clearly state grading policy and expectations on Dbs at the start of your course
  • Grade on quality (content-related, scholarly, not superficial) and quantity (number and length of posts)
  • Require that some posts be replies to or comments on other student posts
  • Check for posts that simply repeat other student posts or copy/paste textbook information
Written Work
  • Use a stated rubric for fairness with clear expectations to students (see Rubistar) - this avoids "why did you give me that grade"
  • Be clear on whether you also grade on spelling and grammar
Projects
  • For portfolios, presentations, personal web pages, use a stated rubric for fairness with clear expectations to students (see Rubistar)
Group Work
  • Give both a "group grade" and individual grade (with a percentage breakdown for each)
  • Require a group project, but also accept individual work on the project
  • Have students detail the individual work they did on the project
  • Have members of each group rate/grade each other on a scale of 1- 10 on some criteria (have them explain their assessment in a sentence)
  • Use "Peer Evaluations" in Bb
Skill Mastery
  • Interpreting graphs (economics), use of programming (CIS), mastery of skills (languages, math), interpreting language (Spanish)
Participation
  • Should not just measure login in time, but should also include Dbs, timely submission of assignments, email follow-ups to instructor, etc.
  • minimum login - 3 times per week has been suggested

Grading:

  • Some use percentages (A:90%, B:80%, C:70%, D: 60%, F: below this)
  • Use credit/ncr (pass/fail) for some assignments with a fixed amount of points
  • Most recommend to not allow students to grade each other as trust in the class will plummet - (although one can allow comments or critiques on each other's work)
  • Extra-credit work allows much more flexibility in online courses especially for poorly performing students and those with time-management problems
  • For student complaints about grades, refer to your stated expectations or syllabus, give an acceptable example from the past, give suggestions for improvement
  • For information on how to use Colleague/WebAdvisor to submit final course grades: see The Server
Last Updated: 05/05/2015

In Focus

Two ArrowsINSTRUCTIONS>
List of what to include as bulleted instructions for each assignment.
Test TubesINTERVIEW>
Interview with Paul Carmona on using Journals in online courses.
Test TubesCONCEPT MAPPING>
Article on how to construct and use concept mapping.
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