Create Online Assessments

Online assessments may be used to support instructional goals, even if your primary course format isn’t fully online. They may be incorporated into any learning environment: online, blended, or in-person. The strategies outlined below will help you create and implement your assessment plan.

Email [email protected] with questions or to request an assessment consultation. Your question will be routed to the appropriate local or central support unit. 

See quick tips: Assessment Types & Recommendations (pdf)

Plan and Implement your Online Assessment

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Make Your Assessment Plan

Create an Online Assessment

By reflecting on the essential learning, leveraging technology and providing the appropriate support and feedback for students, it's possible to provide effective assessments and to assure student learning.

View the assessment types below and our recommendations for how you might plan, prepare, and leverage technology to accomplish your course goals:

Consider other ways that the primary learning outcomes could be assessed. Would a paper or video presentation be possible? For ideas, see Ryerson University’s Best Practices for Alternative Assessments and Indiana University’s Alternatives to Traditional Exams and Papers. 

For any online assessment, be sure to:

  • Describe what students will need to know or be able to do (i.e., identify what will be assessed) and how they should complete and submit the assessment.
  • Identify how points (and how many) will be awarded for each prompt/component.
  • Let students know how, if at all, the assessment(s) will affect the way course grades are calculated.
  • Solicit student feedback to help you clarify assessment expectations and make any necessary modifications.

Plan How you Will Grade and Provide Feedback

  • Offer formative feedback: Students benefit from clear feedback and opportunities to revise and resubmit their work so that their mastery can develop over time. 
  • Consider grading load: Like students, instructors may face challenges with their assessment workload. Consider how you can alter, stagger or lower your grading load, if necessary.
  • Create and grade assessments in Canvas: Our learning management system, Canvas, has a series of tools to make feedback and grading easier and to increase academic integrity. Consider using tools such as:
    • Canvas Quiz tool provides automatic feedback and grades many question types, giving you more time to grade essays or short answers. 
    • Speedgrader makes virtual grading easier for you and provides more timely feedback to your students.
    • Provide a weekly summary through Canvas announcements, either as text or in an audio recording right in the tool.

Online Testing

  • Make Your Canvas Exam Accessible
  • Convert an Existing Multiple-Choice Paper Exam to a Canvas Quiz
    • University Survey & Assessment Services (USAS) can convert your existing multiple-choice paper exam to a Canvas Classic Quiz.
  • Is Online Proctoring or Monitoring Necessary?
    • Online proctoring or monitoring is not necessary unless required by your unit’s accrediting body (this is rare). We strongly encourage instructors to remind students of the expectations for academic integrity and design assessments that allow for use of resources and/or collaboration. For guidance on using proctoring tools, see  Do I Need to Use Online Proctoring?

Implement Your Assessment Plan

Communicate Expectations about Academic Integrity

In general, students commit academic misconduct because they are anxious about their performance, are unable to meet deadlines, or do not understand the rules and expectations for assignments. All of these stressors may be heightened in the online environment. The Office of Community Standards has provided the following recommendations:

  • Consider alternative modes of assessment. If possible, structure your assessments so that peer-to-peer collaboration and access to resources (e.g., the internet, books, notes) are acceptable.
  • Give students clear instructions on citing sources in written responses.
  • If you enable Turnitin for written final papers, let students know you will check for plagiarism.
  • Communicate expectations for academic integrity. Explain which resources are and are not allowed for each assessment and discuss the importance of trust in the classroom, and consider best practices for reducing cheating on take home exams.
  • Enable student access to the Libraries’ course reserves and interlibrary loan services online. There may be delays in response time due to limited staff, so we encourage everyone to request electronic resources whenever possible.
  • If you choose to use monitoring or proctoring tools, communicate clearly to students regarding the technology used and allow them an opportunity to practice with a low-stakes test.

See more resources on Promoting Academic Integrity in Your Course.

Practice Beforehand

Give yourself and the students low-stakes opportunities to practice using any new technology.

  • Hosting a webinar presentation in Zoom? Jump online together prior to the big day to let everyone test their camera, lighting, microphone and practice sharing their screen.
  • Monitoring an exam with Respondus or Proctorio? Provide a pre-test in the tool and give points for completion.

Schedule Your Exam: University Policy and Guidance