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CHSS Online Teaching Initiative

Developing Assessments

When designing projects and assignments, keep in mind course objectives. Ideally, each assignment will respond to at least one of the learning objectives. Consider the following recommendations:

In the assignment description, include clear submission guidelines: describe what to submit, where to submit, in what order, what application to use to complete the assignment, and how to name files. If you download student work, a consistent file naming procedure makes it possible to find assignments quickly.

Here is a sample file naming procedure:

CourseNumber_LastNameInitialofFirstName_Unit#_ddMonyy
Ex.: CJ3302_SmithM_U1_12Jan20

To submit feedback in Blackboard, rename the student’s file by adding instructor initials and the final grade to the file name:
Ex.: CJ3302_SmithM_U1_12Jan20_lk_86

This procedure will makes it possible to know which grade to input in Blackboard without having to open the document.

  1. Consider asking students to submit individual assignments as one file. In other words, discourage them from submitting the text, figures, and bibliography in separate files. This will ease the work of downloading files.
  2. In order to create a sense of community in an online class, consider introducing collaborative tasks for students to engage with other students in a meaningful way, such as peer reviews. Make sure that the peer review process engages specific assignment criteria and other course materials. For example, a peer review form based on the grading criteria will force students to read and internalize the assignment criteria and revise their own work in the process. By reviewing the work of others, students will reinforce their understanding of course materials and terminology.

Setting up Exams, Quizzes, and Tests

Online teaching places certain constraints on the assessment of student learning. One way to monitor students while they take an exam online is to use Respondus Monitor. This feature allows the use of a webcam to record students while they are taking an exam. See Section I: Blackboard Tools and Resources for more details. In addition, there are ways to assess student learning through a mixture of well-crafted multiple-choice and open-ended questions. Blackboard can randomize questions to reduce instances of plagiarism. Other options include defining the time span during which quizzes are accessible, limiting the amount of time students can spend working on a quiz, and minimizing the number of attempts.

Using Grade Book

Recording grades in an online course using traditional methods can be time-consuming. The Blackboard Grade Center makes it possible to record scores or letter grades and calculate final grades using different assignment weights. For simplicity, consider using traditional percentages from 0 to 100% that have clear letter grade equivalents and are understood by most students. Students will be able to access their grades through My Grades and view an average of all inputted grades during the semester.

Addressing Plagiarism

Include a statement on plagiarism in the syllabus. Remind students throughout the semester to document their sources. To curb plagiarism, reemphasize the following:

  • Whether in discussion posts, essays, exams, or any other course projects, students should use the citation style appropriate to their discipline: such as MLA Style or APA Style. Students must cite the sources that they are using whenever they quote or paraphrase from a specific text.
  • Remind students that they need to cite all sources they use in their work, whether print, video, audio, or other digital media.

Several programs help ensure that students’ work is original.

Turnitin. : “Turnitin. One way of ensuring that students do not plagiarize assignments is to require the use of Turnitin. Create a Turnitin assignment in Blackboard and ask students to upload their work. The system will check for plagiarism and generate a report. For a different view of Turnitin and how to combat academic dishonesty, see the UHD Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence workshop, led by Dr. Andrew Pavelich, Promoting Academic Integrity.

Another way to check assignments for plagiarism is by Googling suspicious paragraphs, sentences, or phrases.

Respondus Monitor. This program makes it possible to record students via a webcam. This feature can be useful for administering closed-book tests and exams.

The links to tutorials for these programs are available on the TTLC’s Faculty & Staff Learning Materials page.

Last updated 4/1/2022 6:08 AM