As an instructor, you are responsible for creating assessments. Yet, as you move into a new mode of delivery, online instruction, you will need to adapt your assessment strategies. In this module, you can independently explore the unique assessment issues associated with teaching online and begin reflecting on what will be appropriate for your online classes.

Assessment Process

By the end of the module, you should be able to:

  • Identify the steps of successful course-level assessment
  • Describe the types of online assessments
  • Address challenges in online assessment
  • Utilize best practices for online assessments

What does a successful assessment process look like?

Currently in higher education, the focus has shifted from an emphasis on teaching to a focus on student learning. Assessment plays a key role in student-centered learning because it allows us to answer the questions, “what have our students learned?” and “how well have they learned it?” Emphasizing assessment allows us to go beyond monitoring learning to promoting learning.

The assessment process can be displayed in four fundamental steps as shown below.


*Adapted from Huba and Freed (2000)

The first step, deciding on what a student will be able to know and do as a result on instruction, requires writing learning objectives. In the second step, you either create or find ways to measure the extent to which students have met those objectives. This process results in both direct and indirect measures of learning and may involve the fine-tuning of the objectives. The third step, the planning of instructional strategies, is guided by our asking,”how does this event/activity/approach help a student achieve the objective?” An emphasis on improving learning is the aim of the final step, in which we provide feedback to students to help them improve their learning.

In this module, we’ll use the four-step process to guide your exploration of online assessment.