Give students credit for the substantive learning they can provide each other through discussions. This is important in all learning environments. For instance, in many online courses, these discussions are essential for achieving learning goals. By assigning credit for participation in discussions specifically, instructors can prevent “lurking”, where students listen to the conversation but do not participate.
Here are some tips for assessing online discussions.
- Require students to participate in specific numbers of threaded discussions.
- Have interactive learning activities (e.g. threaded discussion) account for a high percentage of course grade.
- Identify the qualities you look for in discussions and grade students according to those criteria
Teamwork involves collaboration among students.
However, students frequently express concern that not all members contribute equally when working in groups. Typically, an instructor will assess teamwork based on the final project instead of evaluating contribution from each student. Thus, by developing a transparent assessment process that assesses both individual and team based learning, student collaboration can be encouraged.
A couple of strategies to effectively assess teamwork in all learning modes are using student self evaluation and peer evaluation. Using the combination of product assessments and individual assessment can provide instructors with valuable information on how teams function and how to provide feedback and grading.