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Section 6.2: Student Assessment

The three phases of student assessment are initial, continuous feedback, and end of course.

Initial Phase.

In the initial phase, also known as initial student assessment, assessments are used to help the online instructor know who his/her students are and how they learn. This process can help the online instructor design a course that is learner-centered, a hallmark of good online course development (Palloff and Pratt, 2007, p. 11). Initial student assessment techniques can be used to determine the comfort level with technology and preferred learning styles (O’Neil, p. 144). Below are tools available to the online instructor to assess learner abilities and skills, readiness and characteristics:

Self-Introduction Discussion Forums. Self-introduction or ice-breaker discussion forums, a form of socio-emotional discussion forums, should be an activity conducted at the beginning of the course. This type of forum can provide the instructor with student characteristics information. The instructor will discover insights into the personal lives of students such as if they are working full time, personal commitments, and their goals for the course. The responses can also give the instructor an idea of the students’ learning style. Finally, through bios and self-introductions, the instructor can pick up on how students work with other students (Palloff et al., 2001).

*Readiness surveys. The following Online Learner Self-Assessment Survey developed by M.D. Roblyer for the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga Online M. Ed. Program is an instrument enabling students to assess their ability to succeed in an online learning environment: OnlineLearning-SelfAssessment-Survey.pdf

*Computer skills assessment.
The following computer and technology skills have been identified for the online student (O’Neil et al., p. 63):

(*Information is elaborated upon in Section 1.5: Online Student Characteristics)

Continuous Feedback.

End Student Feedback.

Students are assessed in terms of meeting the learning objectives. Suggested techniques are provided below (O’Neil et al., p. 146):

Resources for Tips on Providing Feedback: