Module 8: Online Assessment Tools

Dr. Lorraine Beaudin identified assessment typically involving four important processes:

  • identifying clear, valid, and appropriate student learning outcomes
  • collecting evidence that those outcomes are being addressed
  • setting the stage for a dialogue to attain a collective interpretation of the data
  • using data to improve both teaching and learning

Perhaps simplistically I think of the basic teaching/learning process involving:

Tell them, show them, let them try it, and give them feedback on how they did.

As a function of the evaluation of how learning was acquired, relative to a goal, teachers typically assess performance on an exam. The exam performance by the students provides teachers feedback on how well the students understood the materials. Teachers use this feedback to adjust their teaching materials and style.

As Dr. Beaudin points out, “the concept of learning-centered teaching involves the effective use of both formative (assessment for learning) and summative (assessment of learning) assessment”. The use of on-line tools both “for and of” learning can provide teachers with feedback not just after the instruction but also during the instruction. One tool that can be used during the learning process is the use of what appears to be gaming. Games come in a large variety of forms and the line between a thumb dexterity activity and a thinking activity can be unclear at a cursory glance. Chess looks like a thinking game and PacMan looks like a dexterity game. The game category I see as most valuable in education is simulations. Most often simulations are representations of real world situations or have a basis in something that reflects our ideas of the world. Simulation building can be evaluated based on a learning objective.

I began teaching spreadsheet skills to adults in 1982. In the past, the Easter Egg, Flight Simulator was built into Excel. Many present day games began as spreadsheets, such as Candy Crush. Teachers can use the matrix formatting of spreadsheet like Excel to have students build simple games and coded games as well. Games can be used in creative ways in the learning process and evaluative feedback can be provided by teachers. Excel does support on-line collaboration for group work which is useful in teaching.

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