Teach Anywhere Toolkit
Traditional and Alternative Online Assessment Tools
Options for Creating Assessments
Canvas allows quizzes and tests to be timed and offered online. You can create the following types of traditional questions: multiple choice, fill in the blank(s), multiple answer, matching, numerical answer, formula question, and essay.
Reasonable assessment alternatives to traditional testing exist for most courses across diverse disciplines, format and size. In fact, the alternatives may promote student learning and be a more authentic way for students to demonstrate what they have learned at higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy (synthesis, analysis, evaluation).
There are many kinds of alterative, open-ended questions you can ask that require students to personalize their problem solving, enhance their learning and provide less incentive for cheating. Consider ways to create assessments for learning in addition to assessments of learning.
Some examples include:
- “Create a concept map…” of a particular reading, theory, system, experiment, etc. Many free software tools are available on-line. Encourage students to explore the web and find the tools that work best for them. Students can also scan and upload hand-drawn maps. Concept maps require students to organize information and make clarifying connections between their ideas, and enable instructors to quickly identify strengths and weaknesses in student understanding.
- “Explore the current literature and briefly summarize recent findings or ideas that expand on content covered in class and/or that apply to your own field/ interests.” Provide guidelines (date range, appropriate sources) and have students include citations. Allow students to own their own learning by doing the research themselves and figuring out how to get intrinsically motivated to engage with the material.
- “Make a summary sheet” of all of the material covered in a particular class module. There are many ways to communicate and organize information. Test how well students understand the course content by having them decide what information to include on one page, and how to present the information succinctly and effectively.
- “Generate three research-worthy questions inspired by the course content.” Investigate your students’ ability to apply critical thinking and inquiry skills by specifying that these cannot be questions in which answers have already been provided in class or be answered with a Google search.
- “Pose a design-thinking challenge” or “Solve a design-thinking challenge” relevant to the topics covered in the course. For example, challenge students to describe how they would build their own organism, curate their own art exhibit, create a lesson plan, etc. etc. given guidelines as appropriate.
- “Prepare an op-ed to the local newspaper or letter to a local politician or organization” for possible submission on a current issue being addressed in class.
- Have students visit a website in which they can explore or evaluate themselves or a topic they are interested in or personally affected by (Implicit Association Test, Carbon Footprint Calculator, Climate Change Impacts by Region, Economic Impact Calculator, Health Insurance Marketplace Calculator, Color Challenge and Hue Test, etc.) and reflect on how that information applies to the course.
- Provide a video, photographs, case study, or scenario in which students must apply what they have learned in interpreting the situation/ solving a problem, etc.
- For any of the above, allow students to work with a partner. Consider occasionally offering an assessment in which students have the option to collaborate.
Options for Distributing Assessments
Post a PDF of your exam via Canvas at an appointed time for printing using Files or Assignments. Students can work on it in the privacy of their room and scan it to a multi-page PDF using an app like GeniusScan, then upload it to Canvas Assignments. Similarly, you can post your exam as a Word Doc in Canvas for students to upload in or at a given time. Submissions such as papers, projects and presentations can be submitted using various file submission formats (i.e. audio or video, web URL, etc.)
How can you save time grading assessments?
For many of the types of questions you create in Quizzes, Canvas can auto-grade.
For short answer questions, essays, longer papers, or homework posted as Canvas Assignments you can Create Rubrics (click on the “+ Rubric” button in the settings for that Assignment). You can set the grading criteria and point distribution ahead of time for students to view and for you to efficiently grade in Speed Grader. Once you have built the rubric you can easily select the point values for each criteria and Canvas will automatically tally the points. You can also add comments if additional feedback is needed.
Also consider ways in which students can provide feedback to each other by providing them with or having them create rubrics that can be used to meaningfully evaluate each other’s work.
Can your exam be proctored?
Students taking assessments delivered online can be limited to the exam browser window with Respondus LockDown Browser. This tool prevents access to other applications and assessments are displayed full-screen while the browser menu and other toolbar options are disabled.
Respondus Monitor allows for live proctoring of quizzes and tests delivered through Canvas. Reach out to Teach Anywhere for more information.
Questions, Concerns, Suggestions
For questions, concerns, or suggestions about this guide, email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.