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    Teaching Effectively Online



Lesson Five: Student Performance Assessment Methods


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Required Submissions for Lesson Five:


1.        Read through the lesson and privately email your instructor Feedback on this lesson.

          (30 minutes)

2.        View the Video at http://www.masteryconnect.com/  (3 minutes)

MasteryConnect makes it simple to share and discover common formative assessments and track mastery

of state and Common Core standards. Built-in grading tools save teachers time.


There are many searchable K12 curriculum databases to help match topical resources, by grade level, with standards. Here is but one; Explore: http://thegateway.org  
(note the WP cumulus (cloud) plug in on the right sidebar.) 

See also the Achievement Standards Database at http://asn.jesandco.org/

(30 minutes)

3.     View the Kindertown Video at


and note the Edublog content awards for the site sharing this video!
http://freetech4teachers.com  and Optional the K-3 resource collections by
Alaskan teachers are listed at http://lone-eagles.com/teachercreated.htm
See also http://lone-eagles.com/guide.htm for more K12 resources.

(one hour)


4.  Explore the Plagiarism services available to you
http://plagiarism.org   and the resources on Citing Internet Resources

     Citing Electronic Resources http://www.cyberbee.com/citing_sites.htm

      (30 minutes)


5. Explore the Designing Online Instruction: Evaluation and Assessment resources page


Explore the resources of Chapter Five- "Telecollaborative
     Projects in Context (Assessment)" and review the associated resources at   

    While dated, many good resources can be found in this listing, created by Dr. Judi Harris.

     (30 minutes)


6. Using the Course Assessment Checklist provided in lesson 3,
      briefly assess the 21st Century workforce course at
      giving a minimum of 1-3 sentences per checklist category. Or assess this
      "Teaching Effectively Online" course, or Mentoring Online at
       http://lone-eagles.com/courses/rfts or another online course of your choosing.

    Email your checklist to your instructor along with candid feedback on both the checklist
      model, and the course model you are assessing, regarding what additional
      course design considerations might be added.

      (one hour)


Authenticity of Student Work

Since you can't see a student online, with some individuals there may be question as to the authenticity of their work. The most secure strategy to deal with this issue is proctored testing, where students learn online, but must be supervised for testing by a responsible adult.

Timed online quizzes may, or may not, be proctored and present another alternative. With timed quizzes, students are given a limited block of time such as 24 hours, to take online quizzes.


Many tools exist to maintain an online database of quiz questions for automatically creating original quizzes, and recording student’s progress – as an important model for assuring mastery learning, and saving the teacher time from unnecessary grading tasks.



Plagiarism is always a risk. With unlimited access to information through the Internet and the ease at which written material can be "borrowed," some students will be tempted to submit the work of others as their own. There are over 200 web sites which actively promote such cheating by providing term papers in electronic form. 


There is a way to combat this problem. If you go to http://plagiarism.org you'll find a service that (for 50 cents a paper) will search the Internet for any duplication of sentences, paragraphs, even phrases. This project has already incorporated all the term papers from the 200+ cheat sites mentioned above. It's easy to use and provides a color-coded output detailing the sources for text that has been found elsewhere. Whereas few teachers have the budgets to do this for all student paper, conducting a sample "paper check" as a demonstration for students of this new capability might well minimize student's willingness to plagiarize.


Strategies for Online Assessment

Diversity of cultural and technical backgrounds can create inequities concerning online assessment. If students are frustrated with equipment problems, access problems, navigating the system, unreliable access to course information, or don't understand the expected behavior or class format, those students are likely to be assessed on these issues independent of content mastery. Technophobia is a common problem with online instruction for those new to using computers, particularly among adults. It's commonly related to information overload caused by trying to learn many new technical concepts at once.


The technical skills necessary for participating in an online course MUST be mastered before purposeful instruction can take place. The emotional support of knowing you can ask questions and receive friendly assistance is fundamental to any successful online course. This type of supportive interaction has profound social meaning which should not be underestimated.


Online group coordination can require considerable effort. Students will often get caught up in the excitement of being online and not carefully follow the instructions for the course. Early in an online course, all students must learn the discipline required. If a student fails to "show up" for class, teacher recognition and resolution of this fact must be as immediate as possible. If a student doesn't follow instructions, swift action is necessary to get that student back on track, otherwise the whole class suffers, since interaction among all students is an important part of any online class.


The online classroom can accentuate student differences in writing ability, comfort level with technology, and self-confidence. Students with low confidence regarding their online persona, writing and/or language ability and technical skills, tend to read messages, but may not respond.  An online instructor must carefully work to identify these students early in an online course and gently draw them into online discussions.


The online medium tends to exaggerate both positive and negative messages. If an instructor says "good job" to a student, the effect can often be dramatically positive. If an instructor says "Let's keep on track, now is not the time for that topic," a student might feel completely slammed and quit interacting or even drop the course. It's a fact that the online medium tends to often be emotionally charged.


With verbal communications, we find it easy to present a given personna. With written communications, a student generally feels they are revealing themselves from a much deeper level, as they often are, and hence, criticism is often taken much more harshly. Praise, also seems to be amplified online, particularly by those who are uncomfortable with writing or use of computers and Internet. Praise often, be very cautious when being critical.


Praise and encouragement are typically needed much more often online than in a classroom where facial expressions and the mood of the room can provide feedback. Asking public questions of students is a standard method of getting the quiet ones to talk online. Intentionally raising a controversial issue can be an effective way of eliciting messages, too.


The online mode lends itself toward students helping students and the shared understanding that group learning goals are as important as individual learning goals. Student-to-student interaction should be encouraged as much as possible. Peer mentoring is a good strategy, as is peer assessment, where everyone can recognize the need to help each other reach a given standard of performance.


Self-Assessment and Peer-Assessment

There is an implied contract in any online instructional experience. The student agrees to responsibly conduct the work assigned and to interact honestly, and the teacher agrees to support the students by responding to questions, and understanding when technical problems are at fault. Peer and Self-assessment are closer to the real world model of achievement than traditional testing and include issues such as effort-put-forth, and differences in backgrounds.


Self-assessment allows students to focus on their personal growth, independent of their peers. This can be an important motivational component for students with backgrounds significantly different from their peers.


Peer-Assessment can be one way for students to monitor each other to help achieve uniform participation in an online activity or discussion. Peer-mentoring is often necessary for those with strong computer and Internet backgrounds to be specifically tasked with helping raise the skills and confidence of those without such backgrounds. The Khan academy video shows an important model for monitoring and rewarding peer mentoring.


Project-Based Assessment

Instead of relying on traditional testing measures, outcome-based learning and project-based assessment may make better sense. If students work individually or as part of a group on a project or series of specific deliverables, it simplifies the assessment issue. Peer assessment of each member's contribution toward a group project can also become a part of the assessment plan.


Depending on the content for the course, it is sometimes possible to have students create assignments that demonstrate mastery of skills, or concepts, in a successive fashion, perhaps ending with a final product or report. In this model, students must demonstrate their progressive mastery of the course content. This model makes plagiarism more difficult.


Having students write to demonstrate their mastery of the content is another workable solution. It is often quite obvious to the teacher when students attempt to copy each other's writing. With small groups of students, a teacher becomes familiar with each student's writing skills and often will notice a sudden change in style or quality of writing. With larger groups of students this works less effectively.


Assignments can be structured so there is online proof that the students actually did the required work. Strategies can include having students capture and cite sample text, if their assignment involves visiting other online resources, or  providing the teacher with specific information accessible only through actually performing the required assignments. An example would be to ask students to find three URL's on a topic which have not been previously shared as part of the class, or to cut and paste related text along with the URL's from the original source.


Mastery Learning Assessment

Since students will have different ability levels, perhaps accentuated by the online classroom, it makes sense to consider master learning as an assessment strategy, based on demonstration of specific skills or product outcomes. Peer mentoring can create an exciting dynamic for those students who need more confidence and support.


Progressive Outcomes

One way to avoid plagiarism is to require students to produce unique lesson outcomes that build upon each other in a progressive manner. This is particularly suitable for skills-based content where students must demonstrate mastery of a given set of skills before they will be able to proceed. Periodic demonstrations of these skills can be a means of double-checking to see if students have indeed learned and not copied from others. Creating an outline, followed by specific sections of a report, would be one example.


Archiving Messages for Later Reflection

One interesting strategy for subjective self-assessment is to save all student messages in separate files so at the end of an activity, or online course, the teacher can return to the student their entire transcript of interaction for reflection. A teacher may find it interesting to simply measure the length and/or volume of students' messages over time. A teacher might ask a student to rate their own messages as to level of confidence, and quality of contribution, to a group discussion or activity.


One convenient option is to create your own free listserv at http://netpals.lsoft.com and use their web-based searchable message archives to create listings of messages by student name. If your students are aware from the beginning that a public archive of their collaborative contributions is being kept, it may make a difference in their level and quality of participation.


New Standards for Community Engagement

The brief info-diet survey, and Geekatude Survey (copied below), are at http://lone-eagles.com/academy-info-diet.htm and offer a optional first look at our information inputs, and we might rate ourselves on both the volume and the value of our choices and personal abilities to daily assimilate vast quantities of new information. We might consider what info-behaviors we are modeling for students with an eye toward teaching related “best practices.”


No child left behind standards, many will tell you, do not address the call for teaching creativity and innovation. And do not address the need to responsibly maintain our digital reputation, or to self-assess our level of civic participation, service learning, or moral responsibilities to help those less fortunate than ourselves. And most importantly it doesn’t address our level of motivation, or our related level of self-confidence, or whether we feel emotionally supported by those educating us, as students, or whether we feel directly threatened by the risks of failure.


As an aside, most GED programs are presented in a mastery learning context as different than traditional K12 education where there is the risk of failure. Could dropping out be a rite of passage to adulthood, where one plans to assure control of one’s own destiny, with plans to finish the HS diploma as an adult in a GED program instead of as a subservient child in a traditional classroom? 


One third of all HS students drop out, with over 50% dropping out in the 17 largest cities.  In most Native communities the rates can be as high as 70%.   The volume of students opting to finish their K12 education via virtual High Schools also speaks to the potential motivation, as their rite of passage, as well.  Motivations Matter!


In addition to required state standards, acknowledging the trend toward national common standards, and also acknowledging the ISTE EDTECH standards listed in Lesson one.  Common sense suggests we need additional standards for Out-of-the-box thinking. You might relate this to our box of required submissions in each lesson, as an analogy, and self-assess how many optional resources you have explored.


21st Century competitiveness at all levels requires we become self-motivated learners, carefully nurturing our innate “love of learning” and increasing our abilities to be creative, innovative, and proactively productive, leveraging the tools at our fingertips for collaborative engagement, public problem solving and more.


The trick here is to learn to enjoy playing and learning, and how NOT to feel threatened with failure by an antiquated Victorian era institutional mindset.  Maslow’s hierarchy of self-actualization applies here. The more we can reduce our own fear of failure, the more psychologically open and motivated we are to unlocking our potential for self-directed learning.


Geekatude Survey


Definition: Geekatude is the level of your combination of self-confidence and curiosity to instigate self-directed “play” exploring and learning new technology tools and skills. The first digital generation seems to have a very high level, whereas previous generations – not so much.


Assessing our current level of personal Geekatude growth.


A few first hard facts:

Technology skills are generally easy - once you know how, and really frustrating when you don’t, particularly if you don’t have any smart friends to ask for help.


Those new to technology often get really frustrated, really fast.

Those new to information “feeds” often get info-overloaded very quickly.


With experience, we learn better what to ignore and how to absorb more and more information inputs before our brains fill up. Our capacity grows with practice as does our self-confidence.


With experience, we learn most online systems are more similar than they are different. We learn the insider tricks, like writing down our usernames and passwords, and where the HELP button can be found, and who around us will tolerate our questions.


Eventually, our tech learning will become fun as we enjoy growth in self-confidence that comes with discovering how clever we really are, and we begin enjoying our new capabilities which we can directly use with our students.


Complete the following survey and save it, with the plan for revisiting the survey after completing this course.


Geekatude Self-Assessment Survey:


1.         I’m learning what to ignore, and what to pay attention to.


______1. Low (newbie)   2. Better (scouting)  3. Average (mildly confident) 4. Some Swagger 5. Guru (bring it on)


2.         2.        I’m never impatient with myself or feel stupid when I get stuck.

______1. Low (newbie)   2. Better (scouting)  3. Average (mildly confident) 4. Some Swagger 5. Guru (bring it on)

3.         I know most tricks are easy once you know how, and most systems are quite similar.

______1. Low (newbie)   2. Better (scouting)  3. Average (mildly confident) 4. Some Swagger 5. Guru (bring it on)


4.         My current level of desire to learn more about instructional uses of technology

            ______1. Low (newbie)   2. Better (scouting)  3. Average (mildly confident) 4. Some Swagger 5. Guru (bring it on)


5.         5.         My current level of ability to teach myself more about instructional uses of technology

            ______1. Low (newbie)   2. Better (scouting)  3. Average (mildly confident) 4. Some Swagger 5. Guru (bring it on)


6.         6.         My current level of ability to absorb lots of new information from many sources regularly. (info-diet inputs)

            ______1. Low (newbie)   2. Better (scouting)  3. Average (mildly confident) 4. Some Swagger 5. Guru (bring it on)


7.         7.        My current level of ability to produce lots of new content using many new content creation tools. (info-diet outputs)

            ______1. Low (newbie)   2. Better (scouting)  3. Average (mildly confident) 4. Some Swagger 5. Guru (bring it on)



The Future of Distance Learning: Web VS Apps


With both attention spans shortening, as well as the useful shelf life of knowledge, just-in-time learning may be the future of education.


"There are two kinds of knowledge, that which you know directly, and that which you know how to find information upon." Samuel Johnson 1867


It used to be we all believed in general education requirements to give us a lifelong base of core knowledge. Today, everything is changing so fast, the trend almost seems to be in the opposite direction – don’t bother with obsolete knowledge until you need it, then get the latest update. (Is there an app for that?)


The OnStar system in many vehicles might be the future of learning. You pay to ask an expert for what you need, and they either deliver it on the spot or provide you with an ILP – individualized learning plan – literally as a map for you to move in the right direction.


Use of web pages is being replaced by the use of apps, which would be loaded on your mobile device, and draw information from online courses, but are often not associated with web pages or sites as we know them today.


With more and more software tools available online in “the cloud” they can be updated daily and are being increasingly integrated with literally everything else.


 (see the explanation of cloud computing at http://www.commoncraft.com/video/cloud-computing. )


Explore: http://www.apple.com/apps  

With hundreds of thousands of apps, There's an app for almost anything.

Apps for iPhone

Over 140,000 apps for iPad

The Mac App Store

Top 100 Apps


Required Submissions Checklist:

        ____ Send instructor private email with your course assessment checklist and comments.

        ____ Send instructor a private email with feedback on this lesson.


Lesson Feedback: 


You're invited to privately email your instructor:


       1. What areas, if any, did you have trouble with during this lesson?


       2. What questions remain now that you've finished this lesson?


       3. Approximately how much time did you devote to this lesson?


              4. What improvements would you like to suggest?