Prompt: This module has explored the use of technology tools for both formative and summative assessment. As you think about how you will implement formative and summative assessments in the online and blended environments, what are some of the factors you need to consider?
I think that both formative assessments and summative assessments are more accessible in an online or blended environment. In a traditional, face to face class, having to bring home papers to grade or staying late at school to grade assignments is an inconvenience which can lead to untimeliness in the feedback process. In an online/blended environment, grading can be automatic. SCORM modules, with built in feedback aligned to how students answer questions, is immediate. Discussion forums can be monitored on a daily basis, offering feedback in a timely manner, both from the online instructor and the other students in the class. Interactive games and activities will also assist the student in understanding and reinforcing the concepts being learned with immediate feedback. These types of assessments will offer the students near immediate feedback that will help them assess their learning.
Online/blended courses also make it possible to use projects as both formative and summative assessments in a more authentic type of environment. Scaffolding of project elements can be easily done, with feedback offered at each step of the creation. This offers students more authentic feedback in a timely manner.
Additionally, formative and summative assessments can be easily tweaked and reused in later classes. This will help make these assessments even better over time.
The one area that I think might be a problem in an online/blended environment is the area of cheating and plagiarism. Honesty and integrity are desired assets, and steps need to be taken to make sure that these virtues are upheld. As was stated in this week’s article, Online Assessment Strategies: A Primer, “students cheat when the probability of being caught is low and when the severity of punishment is low. (Burrus et al., 2007)” Starting with clear expectations and definitions in the syllabus, and indicating to students that the LMS provides an “audit trail” are good ways to begin to deal with this. Promoting honesty by requiring that assignments be turned in on time will also help with this issue.
All in all, I think that there are less factors that will inhibit feedback from assessments in the online environments as compared to a face to face environment. Students will feel more engaged and invested as timely feedback from assessments becomes part of the culture of the class.