Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Embedded Assessment for Improved Teaching and Learning

Assessment involves feedback. Just-in-time feedback can be used to tweak course design and thus improve course delivery. This is true whether a course is delivered online or F2F.

Embedded assessment refers to the process of continuous assessment designed to improve teaching throughout the term. Traditionally, courses have been assessed once a semester, such as through the IDEA survey or one of its competitors. Embedded assessment calls for continuous assessment.

The problem with traditional assessment relates to its timeliness. By the time instructors receive the results, it's too late to make changes to improve teaching. With embedded assessment, the feedback can be utilized to make continuous improvement.

Technology offers a method to embed assessment. The survey feature of WebCT is the one I am familiar with. By conducting weekly surveys of student opinion, with questions similar to those on the IDEA survey, instructors can tweak their course design on the fly rather than next semester. That's a good thing!

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