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Assessment and Evaluation in the Online Classroom – EDU 762

Final Project

Sherry Simmons

Introduction
When teaching any course it is essential when assessing students that we make sure that
we are not only evaluating the course goals and objectives but that our assessments are
authentic. By authentic I mean assessment that demonstrates students’ ability to apply
knowledge and skills to the real world and make it meaningful and applicable. Although
I understand the importance of authentic learning and have always tried to make my
evaluations authentic – in the past I have not made the time and effort to explore new
technology to use in my online course evaluations. This course has not only introduced
me to a variety of technology available for instructors to use but it has forced me to
develop assessments that are useful and authentic using this technology. For this project I
have chosen for my assessments a Wiki page, a survey, a discussion forum and for a
comprehensive course assessment an electronic portfolio. The course that I have
developed assessments for is one that I am currently teaching – Developmental
Psychology.

Description of Course and Student Population


Developmental Psychology is generally a second year course with Intro to Psychology as
a prerequisite. It is a comprehensive course which covers the development in three broad
domains – the biological, cognitive and psychological across the lifespan or from “the
womb to the tomb.”

I currently teach Developmental Psychology both face-to-face and online. I am also in the
process of developing a “blended course” for this course to be offered next fall. The
official description of this course is that it provides the opportunity for the learner to
develop the knowledge, skills, processes and understanding of human development
throughout the life span. It explores developmental theory and research with an emphasis
on the interactive nature of the biological, cognitive, and psychosocial changes that affect
the individual from conception to death.

The students who normally take the course include nursing and health students, child
development students, and general studies transfer degree students. A large majority of
students enrolled in the two year technical college are nontraditional students with an
average age of 28. Many of the students have lost their jobs and are returning to school to
be trained in a new field. Minority students represent 15 to 20 percent of the student
population.

Course Learning Objectives Covered in Project


I will be selecting only a few of the objectives from this course to use in this project.
Some of the objectives are specific to a certain topic for a learning plans and some are
comprehensive because they are for the final course evaluation.

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• Explore student attitudes and preconceived ideas in regards to child discipline
prior to introduction of course topic and research.
• Students will compare and assess their attitudes in regards to child discipline after
research and discussion.
• Explore student attitudes in regards to child discipline after research and
discussion.
• To encourage students to apply critical thinking skills to the area of child
discipline.
• Students will apply various theoretical frameworks to development issues.
• Students will analyze and connect developmental issues related
physical/biological, cognitive and psychological changes across the lifespan.
• Students will evaluate the integration of genetics and environmental influences on
development.

Assessment Tool # 1 – Zoomerang Survey


Online surveys can be excellent to gather information on attitudes, opinions, experiences,
expectations, needs, demographics and descriptive data. (Using Surveys for Assessment)
Online surveys can easily be adapted for online student assessment.

A survey is a great way to collect quantitative data about a group of people. “Surveys are
usually standardized in such a way as to eliminate bias. For example, the response to one
survey question should not alter a response to another question.” (Center for Instructional
Technology & Training)

A survey can be used in a variety of ways. You may give a survey to gather specific data
from a particular group of people or you may give the same survey twice during different
periods of time to discover differences or variations in responses. (Center for
Instructional Technology & Training)

One of the main reasons to use a survey in a general studies course is to determine if
students and faculty believe that the goals and objectives of the course are being met.

Benefits of an Online Survey


Zoomerang’s surveys are easy to design, easy to use, offers free templates which
minimizes design time and there is nothing to install. You are able to see the results of the
respondents immediately. Most people who use the survey report that they are pleased.

With online surveys teachers have the ability to select questions types and many tools
have the capability to upload “support material, such as video and images.” (Bouct)
“Online surveys can calculate the percentages of student who answered questions
correctly, allowing teachers to get a sense of class data as a whole, while also allowing
educators to look at individual student responses to the assessment.” (Bouct) The
interface is easy to use and allows you to either add names and addresses by hand or

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import them from a text file. You can also track an individual’s identity through the
survey. You can design a survey and store it and edit and reuse it for different surveys.

Challenges of an Online Survey


Students may enter false information, or information that they believe the instructor
wants and so the survey may be inaccurate.

Although online surveys can be adapted to be used for assessment they do not offer
shared “content area assessments form which teachers can select, nor do they allow
teachers to enter responses for the online program to correct” and so they are not well
suited to provide immediate feedback to the students and teachers” (Bouct) Some of the
problems with this type of assessment is that students may only answer some of the
questions or none of the questions.

Plagiarism
Although the likelihood of plagiarism in a survey is not great however students may
falsify their responses for a number of reasons as stated above in the challenges of an
online survey;

Learning Objectives:
1. Explore student attitudes and preconceived ideas in regards to child discipline prior to
introduction of course topic and research.

2. Students will compare and assess their attitudes in regards to child discipline after
research and discussion.

Bloom’s Taxonomy:
Knowledge and Evaluation

Activity:
Before the introduction of the topic of child discipline and the researching of the topic
students will take a pre-survey in regards to child discipline. This survey will be used as
a “springboard” to not only introduce the topic but to allow the students to compare their
results with that of surveys taken in the general public. The results of the survey will be
discussed in class and compared to what the research shows in regards to discipline and
ideas and backgrounds of people who use various types of discipline It also allows the
instructor to have an understanding of the student’s prior knowledge of the subject. After
they have researched the topic and written a paper discussing their findings and entered a
discussion board they will complete a post survey to allow them to reflect on how their
attitudes may or may not have changed as a result of research and discussion. The
purpose is to help students understand that many of their ideas are determined by their
past experiences, culture, and preconceptions of what type of discipline works and why.

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Assessment Tool # 2 – Discussion Forum
Since I already use Blackboard discussion forums for my online course - I will continue
to use Blackboard for the discussions - however I will now have a clearer, more directive
idea of how to design authentic assessment for this tool.

“Discussion Boards are reflective in nature. They force students to read other
perspectives and carefully consider a response. As students reflect upon what they want
to write in a discussion board posting, they often integrate research or class readings with
which they are familiar. This occurs more frequently in discussion board postings than in
face-to-face discussion, largely because of the extra time a student has to think about their
response.” (Academic Technology Center)

Benefits
Some of the benefits include the following:

• Students are more likely to interact with each other


• Students are more likely to share their research findings and include their views.
• Students are more likely to answer each others questions freeing up time for the
instructor.
• And finally “In discussion bards the bias often exhibited towards non-whites and
women in face-to-face classes is reduced, resulting in a more instructionally
agreeable environment” (Academic Technology Center)

Challenges:
• Lack of student participation
• Managing large number of posts
• Students feel overwhelmed with posts that they feel they may have to read and
respond to
• Repetition of information in the posts.

Learning Objective:
1. Explore student attitudes in regards to child discipline after research and
discussion.
2. To encourage students to apply critical thinking skills to the area of child
discipline.

Bloom’s Taxonomy:
Knowledge and Analyze

Plagiarism:
Because this assignment requires students to reflect on their research and to describe how
it has influenced their thinking that plagiarism is not likely.

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Activity:
Prior to this activity students will have completed a pre-topic survey and will have
completed research in the area of child discipline. They will also have had been
previously introduced to critical thinking skills and role of assimilation and
accommodation in processing new information. The students will be required to discuss
their research and their thoughts and ideas regarding discipline now as a result of their
research. Have their views stayed the same or have they changed? Why or why not?
They are required to reply to at least four other students on four separate occasions. I will
use a rubric which they will have access to prior to the activity.

Assessment Tool # 3 – Wiki Page

A Wiki page is a page that can all users can add to or edit. “It seeks to involve the visitor
in an ongoing process of creation and collaboration that constantly changes…”
(Wikipedia)

A Wiki can be thought of as a combination of a Web site and a Word document. At its
simplest, it can be read just like any other web site, with no access privileges necessary,
but its real power lies in the fact that groups can collaboratively work on the content of
the site using nothing but a standard web browser. Beyond this ease of editing, the second
powerful element of a wiki is its ability to keep track of the history of a document as it is
revised. Since users come to one place to edit, the need to keep track of Word files and
compile edits is eliminated. Each time a person makes changes to a wiki page, that
revision of the content becomes the current version, and an older version is stored.
Versions of the document can be compared side-by-side, and edits can be "rolled back" if
necessary. (Science of Spectroscopy)

The Wiki is gaining traction in education, as an ideal tool for the increasing amount of
collaborative work done by both students and teachers. Students might use a wiki to
collaborate on a group report, compile data or share the results of their research,

Benefits
• Wikis are simple to use
• They are dynamic
• They are convenient for group work

Challenges
• Many wikis are open to everyone without requiring users to register.
• Changes that are made are immediately made and appear instantly which can
fascilitate abuse of the system. (Wikipedia)

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Learning Objective:
3. To encourage students to apply critical thinking skills to the area of child
discipline by creating and developing alternate methods of discipline.
4. To apply and integrate research to develop and create alternative methods of
discipline.

Bloom’s Taxonomy:
Application and synthesis

Plagiarism:
There could be the potential of plagiarism with this assignment. Although students are
asked to include links that propose alternative methods of discipline they still may
include ideas into the Wiki page that they credit as their own.

Activity:
Students will be asked to consider, describe, and list alternative methods of discipline,
other than corporal punishment, and to include links that are relevant. Prior to this
assignment the students will be asked to consider or actually try different methods of
discipline that would be an alternative to traditional methods of spanking. The Wiki page
should list various types of alternative methods of discipline and to describe steps used to
increase results of these methods.

Assessment Tool # 4 – Electronic Portfolio


Electronic portfolios can be used for many types of assessment in education. It can be a
tool that is used over long periods of time. It can be continuous and ongoing, providing
both formative and summative opportunities to monitor students’ progress towards
achieving course objectives. (Prince George’s County Public Schools) It can be used to
not only document student progress but to display their achievements and to demonstrate
their understanding and application of course objectives.

“Research has found that students in classes that emphasize improvement,


progress, effort and the process of learning rather than grades and
normative performance are more likely to use a variety of learning
strategies and have a more positive attitude toward learning. Yet in
education we have shortchanged the process of learning in favor of the
products of learning. Students are not regularly asked to examine how
they succeeded or failed or improved on a task or to set goals for future
work; the final product and evaluation of it receives the bulk of the
attention in many classrooms. Consequently, students are not developing
the metacognitive skills that will enable them to reflect upon and make
adjustments in their learning in school and beyond.” (Jon Mueller)

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There are two types of portfolios – growth portfolio and the showcase portfolio. “The
growth portfolio emphasizes the process of learning whereas the showcase portfolio
emphasizes the products of learning.” Jon Mueller

Benefits
According to Dr. Helen C. Barrett two of the benefits of using electronic portfolios are:

• Creating an electronic portfolio can develop teachers' as well as students'


multimedia development skills
• Students can compare their reflections to the standards and performance
indicators, and set learning goals for the future.

Challenges
• Problematic for students who are not a technologically savvy
• Instructors must make sure that students have clear criteria for including and
demonstrating the various artifacts that they are displaying in their portfolio.
• May not be a good assessment tool for students who are not very creative.

Plagiarism
The chance of plagiarism does exist with this assignment because students are asked to
gather information from a variety of sources.

Learning Objectives:

1. Students will apply various theoretical frameworks to development issues.


2. Students will analyze and connect developmental issues related
physical/biological, cognitive and psychological changes across the
lifespan.
3. Students will evaluate the integration of genetics and environmental
influences on development.

Bloom’s Taxonomy:
Application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation

Activity:
Students will be asked to choose two developmental issues covered in course, such as
child discipline, obesity, ADD/ADHD, bullying, divorce, ageism, etc.. Students will use a
variety of artifacts to demonstrate their understanding of the causes, interrelationships
and possible consequences associated with these issues. They will then be asked to apply
theoretical perspectives to the issues, demonstrate how each of the issues influence all
aspects of development (biological, cognitive and psychological), and discuss the
integration of genetics and environmental influences on each of these issues. They will
also be asked to include or develop ways in which one could intervene to minimize
negative effects and to maximize positive development. Possible artifacts to be included
could be pictures, video clips, quotations, blogs, advertisments, songs, movies, pamphlets
from the community, real life examples, research articles, cartoons, and articles from the

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web. They would also be required to include a description of why they chose the artifact
and how it relates to the course objectives. The portfolio should also include ideas and
ways to reduce or optimize the issue that they have chosen. A rubric will be provided to
them.

Summary/Conclusion
This course has forced me to not only make the time to explore and try new methods of
assessment but also to “get out of my comfort zone” and actually develop new
assessments using technology! Even though this course has taken so much of my time I
believe it was well worth the effort! When I first enrolled in this course I had no idea that
I would have been exposed to and felt comfortable using all the technology that I have so
far. The methods and type of assessment tools that I use for my online and future blended
courses will certainly be different because of my exposure to all the information from this
course!

As I was working on the development of the different types of assessments I found


myself thinking about all the different ways I could use each tool. I also want to try other
tools such as embedding pod casting into my power points, developing power point
quizzes and using Avatar as introductions to each of the activities. I have included an
avatar in which I developed just this week! I would have never explored this technology
had I not taken this class.

References

Academic Technology Center, Teaching with Technology Collaboratory, “Improving the


Use of Discussion Boards”
www.wpi.edu/Academics/ATC/Collaboratory/Idea/boards.html

Barrett, Helen C. “Create Your Own Electronic Portfolio”, Learning and & Leading with
Technology, April 2000 http://electronicportfolios.org/portfolios/iste2k.html

Bouck, Emily C. Journal of Special Education Technology. Norman: Spring 2006.


Vol.21, Iss 2; pg. 67, 7 pgs

Center for Instructional TechnologyTraining


http://www.citt.ufl.edu/toolbox/toolbox_survey.php

Mueller, Jonathan, “What is Authentic Assessment?, Authentic Assessment Toolbox


http://jonathan.mueller.faculty.noctrl.edu/toolbox/portfolios.htm

Prince George’s County Public Schools, “What are the Characteristics of an Effective
Portfolio?” http://www.pgcps.org/~elc/portfolio1.html

Science of Spectroscopy, “Using Wiki in Education”


http://www.scienceofspectroscopy.info/edit/index.php?title=Using_wiki_in_education

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Survey Galaxy, http://www.surveygalaxy.com/default.asp

Using Surveys for Assessment, http://web.bsu.edu/IRAA/AA/WB/chapter3.htm

Wiki page, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki

Zoomerang,
http://app.zoomerang.com/Create/preview/preview.zgi?ID=L23KN7QR7UJM&bp=sm&
p=WEB228CQU8HGQZ