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New Professional Development Opportunities: Strategies for Assessing Student Performance in Online Classes

July 8, 2020

Dear Faculty Colleagues:

One of the most difficult issues for faculty and students alike during the spring semester was online final exams. Reports of academic dishonesty increased dramatically during the semester, and some students experienced technology challenges that sometimes made a high stakes testing moment even more difficult. We understand the need to provide educators with additional support and are writing to share options for addressing assessment issues in your courses next year.

Addressing academic integrity issues thoughtfully and effectively begins with good course design. All the options provided here ask you to consider addressing issues of integrity through course and assessment design. We encourage you to have frequent and open conversations with your students about assessment expectations and issues of integrity. We are also encouraging you to work with your colleagues as part of departmental or course-specific groups so you can share ideas and resources—and that includes attending the workshops below, with colleagues or as part of a team.

In this vein, we have three options for you to consider, and they are not mutually exclusive:

We have resources to help you think about course and assessment design. The Remote Assessment Quick Guide and Exam Strategy for Remote Teaching can be accessed at your convenience.

We are offering an online workshop on Alternative Assessments and Feedback. This workshop, Assessment Options Beyond the Exam: High-impact Assessment Design, is for educators who are looking for resources and help with formative assessments and alternatives to traditional exams and quizzes such as projects, posters, and reflections. We will also focus on technological approaches for giving feedback at scale. The workshop runs 90 minutes and will take place on July 28, 29, and August 19 from 10:30-12:00 (Zoom, details provided after signing up).

We are also offering an online workshop on Exam Design. This workshop is for educators who are looking for resources and help with academic integrity on summative quizzes and exams. We will focus on writing multiple-choice and short-answer questions, creating a climate of integrity in the course, the pros and cons of video proctoring, and creating exams specifically in D2L. Assessment design must balance some acceptable level of “risk” with attention to equity and decreasing student anxiety. The workshop runs 90 minutes and will take place on July 28, 29, and August 19 from 12:30-2:00 (Zoom, details provided after signing up).
Those interested can sign up for one or both of the workshops.

Thank you for your attention and participation.

Thomas D. Jeitschko
Acting Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Jeff Grabill
Associate Provost for Teaching, Learning, and Technology

Mark Largent
Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Philip Strong
Interim Dean of Students and Assistant Provost for Academic Standards and Student Conduct