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Assessment and Giving Feedback Online

Updated: Jun 16, 2020

Now that most teachers had to switch to teaching online, a lot of us might be wondering how we're going to keep checking our students' performance. Things have to go on just as usual, right? Of course, institutional requirements might upset this ideal proposal I'm laying out here, but let's just try to push the boundaries a little bit. I'll give you 4 tips on how to assess in an online class, and introduce apps called #SeeSaw, #Floop, and #Kaizena.


I've read these tips at several places already, so I can only reiterate these ideas with my additions and app ideas:

1) Forget traditional factual testing

There are tons of online testing websites, which offer the same old task types (Socrative, Classmarker, GoFormative, Quizizz, Google Forms), which is not wrong per se, but bear in mind that students can find anything on the internet now that it's really at their fingertips, so why would you test dates, names, and facts? >> Assess things that require thinking and the application of their knowledge instead and ask more complex questions.

You can still use these websites for testing, just come up with more complex tasks. This might be more work for you to grade but you are not going to have to worry about them cheating.

2) Look beyond tests

We're used to the typical task types like multiple choice, short answer, and essay. But with all these new tools around, we can go beyond that and give our students more engaging tasks that can showcase their creativity and integrate other subjects too. >> Try assigning students project work, ask them to take/edit videos, create collages and posters, etc.

Seesaw is an app designed primarily for elementary students. The main idea is that students are asked to upload all sorts of project work with the help of their smart devices, which lets them explore and interact with the topic they're studying in a more creative way. For example, you can ask them to upload a picture of a bird, identify its parts by labeling the image, and then create an audio message saying what the bird is and what parts it has. Or the teacher could ask students to demonstrate a concept in physics by taking a video of objects doing exactly that thing, for example showing the relation of incline and distance with the help of book stacks, a flat piece of wood and a little car.

There are hundreds of community posts which you can get inspiration from. If you have your own task idea in mind, you can create it and assign it to your class. You can give audio or text instructions and set what sort of submissions (photo, audio, video, drawing, notes, upload a file, share a link) you would like to get from your students. Students can get individual feedback, and their parents can also be part of the whole process with a separate parent account.

3) Manage your time and resources wisely

You might easily end up grading 24/7 with all the assignments you set. So think about giving voice comments, including peer feedback, using a comment bank (try Kaizena or Floop Edu or Eduflow).

We have already looked at Eduflow in a previous post, so I'll quickly tell you what Kaizena and Floop can do.

Kaizena is actually an add-on to Google Docs and Slides which can help you add voice comments to particular sections within the document. This feature is not totally new, the option to create audio feedback has been available with the help of Jing (which was retired in 2013) or other screencasting tools (Screencast-o-matic or Loom). The idea of adding these comments to certain parts of the text is a nice one, and Kaizena also lets students highlight sections within the document so that their teacher gives feedback on that particular section.

Floop is a feedback giving tool, which I think is great to solve the issue with handwritten assignments. It lets students upload a photo of their work, and the teacher can attach comments (you can save these comments in the comment bank for later use) to certain parts in the photo. Basically, you annotate the picture, but your comments can be saved, students can reply to these comments starting a feedback flow, and you can even have your students go through a scaffolded peer feedback process. Watch the video below to see how it works.

4) Don't expect too much

Online teaching and learning are not easy, so be patient with your students and give them time to adjust. Don't give them tight deadlines, and appreciate their effort. I really like the idea I read somewhere that if they interacted with your online task in some way or another, they don't deserve a F(ail).

Check my link and tool collection for Feedback and Assessment here:


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