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Online Assessment Options

Developed by Arlett Lomeli & Jessica Sanchez

Think about the assessments and activities you had planned to give in your face-to-face courses in the coming weeks and write them down. Ask yourself:

  • How can these be administered in the online environment?
  • Which assessments or activities will need to be adjusted and how would that look?
  • What additional instructions will my students need to be able to complete these tasks?

The following are activities and assessments that you may have planned to conduct in class. We will provide you some online options to consider.

Please note, you do not need to use all these strategies.

Discussion Forums (Low tech). You can take your in-class discussions and move them online; the difference between the two is that in the online environment this will be done asynchronously – not at the same time. Discussions have been used for many different purposes which include asking questions about the course, reviewing prior material, reflecting on the week's activities, analyzing case scenarios, and providing feedback to others works.

Creating a Discussion Forum

What information should I include?

  1. Discussion Prompt
  2. Discussion Expectations
    1. Explain expectations for their response to discussion question(s).
      1. Is there a word minimum-maximum?
    2. Explain expectations for their response to peers. This should answer
      1. How many peers should I respond to?
      2. What should my response entail?
      3. Is there a word minimum-maximum per response?
    3. How you will evaluate their responses.

If you planned to have your students submit an essay or report to you during class, there is a small adjustment to make.

Assignment tool (Low tech). Students can submit their work electronically through the assignment tool. This tool also contains an additional feature to check for plagiarism. To learn how to use this tool visit Creating a Blackboard Assignment.

  • What information should I include?
    • Purpose
      • Adult learners want to know the purpose of the assignment. What is it’s significance?
    • Instructions
      • Since they won’t be able to ask you this in class, you want to provide detailed instructions on what you expect your students to write on.
    • Text Format, if applicable
      • Word minimum-maximum
      • Number of sources
      • Citation sources in specified format
      • Font and size requirements (ex. Times New Roman, 12-point font)

COLTT currently does not recommend administering online exams. If possible, we recommend postponing exams until face-to-face sessions are back in session. If this is not possible, we recommend assessing your students differently to demonstrate student mastery.

Authentic Assessments

If applicable to your course, think of ways students encounter what they have learned in real world situations and have students' complete meaningful task-based assessments.

  • Case Studies and Scenarios – depict real-life situations in which problems need to be solved. Using these methods, teachers aim to develop student reasoning, problem-solving and decision-making skills.
    • Disciplines that use this include: Business Courses, Medicine, Social Work
    • How to develop Case Studies
    • How applied in Blackboard:
      • Through Discussion Forum
      • Through Assignment Tool

Other ideas offered by Baylor University

Here are ideas for students to demonstrate their knowledge of content:

  • written assignment with short-answer questions submitted via Blackboard
  • student presentations through PPT (with voiceover), podcast, or Panopto video
  • electronic portfolio with discussion of key topics (using WordPress or Google Sites) [Sample]
  • digital poster or infographic on key topics [sample]
  • consider using SafeAssign, built into the Assignment tool, for written assignments and PPTs
Student Presentations
Group Projects
Secondary Sources for assessing applied concepts and terms:
Lectures and Retention: Discussion Boards, Short Question Quizzes, and Google Documents


Source BU Center for Teaching & Learning
Davis, C., Wilcock, E. (). Teaching Materials Using Case Studies. Retrieved from
(). Assessment Types. Retrieved from