Find some disruption-specific suggestions on assessment.
***Additional resources coming to this page soon.***
Here are some ideas for setting up your altered assessments for the disruption. Feel free to borrow any that you like, experiment, alter the plan, and please let us know how things are going. Where possible, consult with your program colleagues, Coordinator and/or Chair.
1. Use Supported Assessment Tools
Blackboard is the College's Learning Management System and is supported for faculty and students. Using Blackboard as your "home base" during the disruption can help provide an organized, consistent environment for students so they are not having to learn too many new tools during the disruption. Here are some of its tools for assessment.
Assessment Tools Supported at GBC As mentioned in a previous section, Blackboard Learn is the Learning Management System at GBC -- students and faculty have access to 24/7 support on this system. While it is only one of a set of assessment options for faculty, in this section we'll look at some of the Blackboard tools that enable off-campus assessment. For more information, see this page on the Learning Continuity at GBC website.
Blackboard Tests tool This tool allows you to create and administer tests (and surveys) that can include multiple choice, true/false, short answer, essay, and a variety of other types of questions. Some questions can be automatically graded (such as multiple choice) while others require the professor to assign a grade for a response (such as essay questions). Find out more about Blackboard tests.
Blackboard Assignments tool This tool allows you to set up assignment specifications, due dates, instructions, and maximum points possible so that students see all of this information on one page together with a submission area. When students submit through the Assignment tool, all submissions are collated for the professor to grade. (Grades are then reflected in the Grade Centre so they do not need to be entered more than once.) See more about the Blackboard Assignment tool.
Additional tools that incorporate grading features:
Discussion Board tool Blackboard's Discussion Board tool allows you to set up asynchronous discussions which can be graded. Find out more about the Discussion Board.
Journal tool Journals are a personal space for students to communicate privately with you. Students can also use journals as a self-reflective tool. They can post their opinions, ideas, and concerns about the course, or discuss and analyze course-related materials. You can set journals to be graded (by you). Find out more about Journals.
2. Consider What's Different Now
What's Essentially The Same
In a great many ways, factors that influence assessment design will remain consistent whether there's a disruption or not. For example, there are some fundamental principles that are always a good idea:
assess what's been taught
align all assessments to the course learning outcomes (from the course outline)
give students opportunities to hone and share skills/knowledge before the assessment event
where possible, avoid relying on very high-stakes assessment events and see if there might be opportunities to break down marks into constituent components
What Is (or Might Be) Different
During this time of disruption, the learning conditions are very likely altered for students and professors. This may impact the ways that students are able to prepare for and complete assignments. Here are some basic considerations. Conditions for Learning & Teaching
During a disruption, students and professors
may not have a quiet space to go (such as an empty dining room, a local library or a coffee shop)
may live in an environment where resources such as computers and internet access are shared with others and thus not always available
may have new daily responsibilities (e.g., caring for children or siblings in the absence of daycare or school, additional work to alleviate a family member's loss of income)
are reliant on technology-mediated communication but may not have experience with online learning or educational technologies
may have lost access to services or tools that supported their learning before the disruption
may be contending with heightened stress and other impediments to learning
Access to Curriculum & Materials
Students may not have access to curriculum in the way they would at other times. For example,
parts curriculum may simply have been reduced or eliminated in your own course or in other program courses whose content impacts students' readiness to complete your assessments
options to borrow books or purchase materials may now be absent or restricted
even if all learning materials are posted online, some students may have more restricted screen time than they normally would
All colleges (and the academic schools within them) have altered policies related to assessment, grading, and completion requirements during the disruption.
most recent general communication from GBC management here:
Here are a few alternatives to consider, along with some important considerations. These are some reasonable adjustments to be considered in the current extraordinary circumstances, which will not necessarily replicate the original assessments, but may offer students some manageable alternatives in challenging times.
Alternatives to a Proctored Final Exam
Whenever possible (and reasonable for the program/course outcomes), alternate off-campus assignments should avoid questions that rely on recall. As with normal take-away papers, because students have access to information, the design of questions may need to be reframed to move away from recall-based tasks to questions that require students to demonstrate how they use information rather than show semantic recall. (Again, in some courses, this may not be applicable since key objectives involve specific knowledge of terminology, sequencing, etc.) It will be important, then, to provide guidance for students about the change in orientation of the task if they are used to traditional on-campus exams.
Under normal time-bounded exam conditions, there may be no need to specify word count. With open book, it is important to set a word or page length range.
Off-campus, open book assessments carry an increased risk of unauthorized collaboration between students. Carefully designed exam questions can reduce the risk of plagiarism. For example, avoiding tasks or questions where there is only one correct answer. Instead, consider questions that invite students to catalogue, critique, plan, defend, or reflect on their own learning, justify or rank rather than to explain or describe -- this is especially effective if the coursework leading up to the exam required them to do similar tasks.
In-Class Presentations Where students speak to an audience of their peers (or others) and are assessed not only on the content but also their presentation techniques, here are some alternatives to consider.
Ask students to do a short presentation in a live conferencing tool such as Blackboard Collaborate Ultra or MS Teams.
Ask students (individually or in groups) to submit a narrated presentation in a digital format which can then be shared online to be graded or peer-reviewed. PowerPoint is free for GBC students to access, is familiar to most, and offers a slide-by-slide voice-narration recording facility. Students also have free access to Camtasia through AppsAnywhere.
Considering inviting students to choose their presentation format based on a range of options you set out.
Some additional considerations
Given the recorded presentation format, students can have multiple opportunities to prepare the item they are submitting, rather than having to cope with the one-off nature of a live presentation. Depending on the course and its learning outcomes, this can be a positive or a negative. If students are presenting in groups, due consideration can be given to international students who have returned home and are working across different time zones.
Seminars, Group Discussions & Similar Tasks You could instead consider using Blackboard Collaborate if the discussions are in real-time, or in Blackboard Discussion Forums in an asynchronous mode.
Lab Work You could instead consider replicating some aspects of lab work through simulations in which students are presented with data sets and required to interpret them. Often this means focusing on interpretation of data rather than working in the lab to achieve the results personally. Simulations can also be used remotely so students can ‘see’ data produced elsewhere and be asked to comment/interpret.
To assure standards you might need to consider that if students can be provided with different data sets for personal interpretation, this can mitigate the risk of ‘over-sharing’.
Peer Assessments & Support You could instead consider having peers email each other drafts for comments or use a virtual space within Blackboard, which does have a tool for peer assessment, and forums can readily be used for peer support.
Contributors to this page Stella Bastone (Instructional Designer)