Alternative Assessment Strategies for Going Online

Converting a face-to-face course to online mode in an emergency can be challenging for faculty and students alike. Careful planning, continuous communication, and community support and collaboration are the keys to managing this situation. Clear and frequent communication between faculty and their students is essential. Flexibility with options and deadlines and providing support to students as needed can reduce students' anxiety and enable a successful transition. 

How to ensure continuity of course assessment during the period of online instruction?

Regarding assessment, remember that what is important is to assess that students have achieved your learning outcome(s). How you do so can change as long as you have evidence that students have achieved the intended learning outcome(s) via online learning methods

No exams or graded quizzes requiring proctoring are to be conducted during the period of online instruction. In the case of proctored assessments, see the resources below for alternatives*

Some of the solutions for alternative assessments offered below are logistical: they do not require any conversions or redesigns but assume possible scheduling changes. Other solutions involve simple alternative strategies that include conversions of format or modality.

All material communicated to students should always include clear directions and descriptors.

1. Current Assessment Strategy: Exams

Possible Alternative Assessment Strategies:

  • Convert to multiple smaller assignments

  • Convert to an oral exam. Small classes can do one-on-one oral exams for each student using live videoconferencing

  • Convert to a project, paper, presentation, etc. 

2. Current Assessment Strategy: Written papers with multiple drafts

Possible Alternative Assessment Strategies: 

  • Submit via Blackboard assignment tool. Feedback and grading can also be managed on Blackboard. 

  • Submit on Turnitin. Feedback and grading can also be managed on Turnitin. 

  • Submit via email, professor downloads and gives feedback via comments on a word document then emails back.

3. Current Assessment Strategy: Presentations

Possible Alternative Assessment Strategies: 

  • Ask students to pre-record videos (e.g. Zoom) , post links to these videos to an online discussion board on Blackboard, and respond to audience questions there

  • Meet using live video conferencing tools (e.g. Zoom) and students can share their screens while presenting. These sessions can also be recorded and shared on Blackboard later.

Check the video production guidelines (guidelines specific to student group presentations  are also included)

4. Current Assessment Strategy: Group Project Work

Possible Alternative Assessment Strategies: 

  • Create Blackboard groups and give students access to various tools for collaboration

  • Students can meet each other virtually

  • Students can work on Google Docs and Google Slides together

5. Current Assessment Strategy: Student-led Discussions

Possible Alternative Assessment Strategies: 

  • Create Blackboard online discussions and encourage students to lead discussions asynchronously over a period of time

  • Class meets on a video conferencing tool (Zoom)

6. Current Assessment Strategy: Graded Assignments (example: problem sets, case studies, guided questions, etc.)

Possible Alternative Assessment Strategies: 

  • Submit via Blackboard assignment tool. Feedback and grading can also be managed on Blackboard

  • Submit on Turnitin. Feedback and grading can also be managed on Turnitin.

  • Submit via email, professor downloads and gives feedback via comments on a word document then emails back.

Contingency Plan For Labs And Lab Components 

Missed labs will be covered through online/videotaped resources where applicable. Please refer to your chair for department-specific directions

*Resources to Get you Started on Alternatives to Proctored Assessments

This list will be updated regularly

Useful Resources: Alternatives to Traditional Exams