University of Wisconsin–Madison

Digital Assessments

Here are a few possible options for leveraging digital assessment while delivering your course remotely. Canvas has a many question types and features available in online quizzes. Below you will see some examples of these. To promote academic integrity in quizzes or tests consider creating a question bank or set up a quiz to randomly assign questions to individual students and setting a time limit on the quiz. For essay questions or other written assignments, consider using the Turnitin originality checker.

For more information see Assessment & Remote Instruction from the Campus Instructional Continuity site.

Key Metrics to Consider

Transitioning or creating your online course requires different strategies for teaching and learning than face-to-face.

DESIGN

The best-known and most researched approach to designing online learning experiences is the “Community of Inquiry” theoretical framework. Creating an online education course involves creating learning experiences in three interdependent elements: social, cognitive, and teaching presence. (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2001) For extensive and in-depth information on designing and teaching an online course see the Design + Teach + Engage: Online Course Design & Teaching site.

As you transition a set of learning objectives to an online environment, your curriculum should include how you plan to accomplish these three elements.

Social Presence is “the ability of participants to identify with the community (e.g., course of study), communicate purposefully in a trusting environment, and develop inter-personal relationships by way of projecting their individual personalities” A strong social presence builds a climate of trust and an environment of comfort and safe risk-taking. This foundation makes the learners ready for your teaching presence and cognitive presence. (engagement with participants)

Teaching Presence is the “design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes for the purpose of realizing personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes” Teaching presence is manifested in everything the instructor does to guide, support, and shape the learners’ experiences. (engagement to realize learning goals)

Cognitive Presence is “the extent to which learners are able to construct and confirm meaning through sustained reflection and discourse” Cognitive presence includes activities developed and actions taken to facilitate learning and encourage learners to explore their ideas, thoughts, and beliefs in order to meaningfully connect with the content. (engagement with content)

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T. & Archer, W. (2001). Critical thinking, cognitive presence, and computer conferencing in distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 15(1), 7–23.

PRODUCTION

Costs include the total effort to produce the course element. The higher-cost options will require funds or resources from professional collaborators.

Technical Difficulty the level of technical prowess needed to set up the for the recording and complexity of producing the finished media. Higher technical difficulty can be overcome through collaboration with technical professions.

Collaboration or DIY  indicated if collaborators are needed to deliver a quality recording. Generally, options with higher costs and/or high technical difficulty will require professional collaborators.

Canvas High Stakes Test
(Mid-term and Final Exam) 

Social: Low • Teaching: Low • Cognitive: High
Cost: $  • Technical Difficulty: High  •  DIY

DESCRIPTION
Summative assessment of student knowledge. Exam integrity improved through various Canvas features and a Turnitin check for essay questions.

EXAMPLE

BEST PRACTICES
Offer the exam over a large window of time, with a time limit to complete the exam. Use quiz settings such as one-question-at-a-time, question banks, randomization, variable questions, and automatic grading. Use questions with variables and random answer order. Manually publish the grades to gradebook after looking through the quiz and question statistics.

HOW-TO GUIDES

Weekly Quiz

Social: Low • Teaching: High • Cognitive: High
Cost: $  • Technical Difficulty: Low  •  DIY

DESCRIPTION

Students and instructors can regularly measure student understanding of the material, adjust behaviors, or intervene. Low stakes assessments emphasize understanding material over memorization. Instead prepares and challenges students throughout the semester.

EXAMPLE

BEST PRACTICES

Weekly low-stakes quizzes help students learn and prepare throughout the semester. Instructors can see which topics challenge students the most, intervene and adjust when necessary. Instructors can use quiz and question analytics and student feedback to gain insights into learning throughout the semester.

HOW-TO GUIDES

Resources to help you implement this in your course:

What quiz types can I create in a course? (Recommend Graded Quiz)

What options can I set in a quiz? (Recommend multiple attempts to lower stakes)

Once I publish a quiz, what kinds of quiz statistics are available?

Student Self-Assessment Quizzes

Social: Medium • Teaching: High • Cognitive: Medium
Cost: $  • Technical Difficulty: Low  •  DIY

DESCRIPTION

Self-assessment quizzes can give instant automatic feedback to students about right and wrong answers as well as explain why an answer is right or wrong..

Self-assessment quizzes can be used by students to prepare for exams or for general practice and understanding.

EXAMPLE

BEST PRACTICES

Self-assessment quizzes can be set to be retaken an unlimited number of times and can be made available for practice before larger exams or activities. Self-assessment quizzes help students build confidence and understanding of the material through repetition and seeing where they need to focus their studying. Questions from old or current exams can be to develop a question bank for theses quizzes.

HOW-TO GUIDES

Resources to help you implement this in your course:

What quiz types can I create in a course? (Recommend Practice Quiz)

What options can I set in a quiz? (Show correct answers)

Essay Question Exams

Social: Medium • Teaching: Medium • Cognitive: High
Cost: $  • Technical Difficulty: Low  •  DIY

DESCRIPTION

Students turn in online written responses, which can be efficiently graded and returned in Speedgrader. Essay questions give students the opportunity to synthesize what they’ve learned with a high degree of freedom and challenge.

EXAMPLE

BEST PRACTICES

[tip and tricks to ensure the best quality product or experience] 

Essay questions provide a similar experience to an essay question in person, but with additional instructional tools. These include Turnitin integrity checker to identify plagiarism and Speed-Grader to quickly page through responses to the same question in order to give feedback.

HOW-TO GUIDES

Resources to help you implement this in your course:

How do I create an Essay quiz question?

Creating an assignment with Turnitin enabled

Allowing students to view Turnitin similarity reports

Interpreting the Similarity Report

Formula/Variable Question Exam

Social: Medium • Teaching: High • Cognitive: High
Cost: $  • Technical Difficulty: High  •  Collaboration or DIY

DESCRIPTION

Formula questions test student’s practical problem-solving skills in many areas of business. Formula questions require students to understand formulas and underlying principles of practical theory.

EXAMPLE

BEST PRACTICES

Formula questions give each student a unique question to answer based on one or multiple variables defined by the instructor.  Formula questions are automatically graded in Canvas. It is good to test these questions carefully before the exam.

HOW-TO GUIDES

Resources to help you implement this in your course:

How do I create a formula quiz question with a single variable?

How do I create a formula question in new quizzes?

How do I create multiple-step formula questions in classic quizzes?

Question-banks and Randomization of Questions

Social: Medium • Teaching: High • Cognitive: High
Cost: • Technical Difficulty: Medium  •  Collaboration or DIY

DESCRIPTION

By using question-banks, instructors increase the integrity of their exams, and the reusability of their questions across various types of assessments. When question-banks are used in exams, questions are randomly assigned to students in different orders.

EXAMPLE

BEST PRACTICES

Question-banks should contain more questions than are assigned and have questions of similar difficulty in each bank. Question-banks can be used more than once in a course and have questions assigned to practice quizzes. Question-banks are transferable within the course, so banks from quizzes in previous semesters can be used in practice quizzes for student self-study.

HOW-TO GUIDES

Resources to help you implement this in your course:

How to randomize question order in Canvas quizzes

How do I create a question bank in a course?

How do I create a quiz with a question group to randomize quiz questions?

Lecture Comprehension Quiz

Social: Medium • Teaching: High • Cognitive: High
Cost: $  • Technical Difficulty: Low •  DIY

DESCRIPTION

Students and instructors can regularly measure student understanding of material, adjust behaviors, or intervene.

Lecture comprehension quizzes are lower stakes for failure than midterm exams and emphasize understanding material over memorization. They help prepare and challenge students throughout the semester.

EXAMPLE

BEST PRACTICES

Help students understand their learning, challenge of the course material, prepare throughout the semester, low-stakes.

See which topics challenge students the most, intervene and adjust when necessary.

Insight into learning throughout the semester.

HOW-TO GUIDES

Resources to help you implement this in your course:

What are the pedagogical uses of quizzing? | Academic Technology

How do I grade an assessment in New Quizzes? | Canvas LMS Community

How do I use SpeedGrader?