Assessment and Feedback

Use and manage assessments:



Online Assessments

Assessments are particularly essential to an online course because these are the primary tools for measuring student progress and are useful for learning how well students comprehend course content.

Assignments, quizzes, and tests can be set up online on Blackboard to mimic how they typically are presented in any course. With special features such as allowing students to attempt a test multiple times, or setting a time limit, or randomly organizing the questions, instructors can customize an assessment to capture a student’s progress at any moment in time.

Blackboard offers a range of tools that allow students to demonstrate their work and learning process for the entire class: Blogs, ePortfolios, Wikis, Discussion Board. Faculty can activate these tools and assessments and should include at least 3 of the following in a hybrid course, and 4 in an asynchronous course.

  • Assignments (essays, papers, lab reports, practice exercises, etc.)
  • Quizzes
  • Exams
  • ePortfolios
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Individual projects
  • Group projects
  • Discussions
  • Rubrics

These assessments ensure students actively participate in an online course and inform faculty about their students’ progress. When instructors provide timely and actionable feedback to these assessments, students also increase their own awareness of progress.


Grading criteria

Do students understand how they will be graded, and how they can track their own progress on Blackboard? This information includes the following:

  • List of assignments, due dates and point values adding up to 100% of the final grade
  • General assignment submission procedure
  • Description of late work policy
  • Policy regarding extra credit, if any.


Tools to ensure academic integrity

Use tools to deter students from plagiarism. Blackboard includes tools such as SafeAssign and Turnitin to help instructors and students identify plagiarized content and uncited sources.

Both SafeAssign and Turnitin review students’ assignment submissions for originality by comparing them against existing works and papers. They can prompt students to properly attribute sources rather than paraphrase.

Visit these websites for more information about preventing cheating online.

OLC-Want to stop cheating online

Strategies to reduce cheating

Additionally, please visit the Online Academic Integrity page to learn more about preventing cheating in the online environment.


The Grade Center

The Grade Center is a Blackboard feature that calculates and keeps track of students’ scores and progress. It also allows students to be able to see how they are doing in the course in real time, how they performed on all their assessments, and how close or far away they are from fulfilling the learning objectives.

The Grade Center shows the results of all assessments that students completed in a table. Faculty can enter grades directly in the cells, customize which columns can be seen, Calculation formulas are readily available in the Grade Center, easily computing each student’s final grades. It displays the information by student, making it easy to see how each student is progressing in the course. This data can be downloaded as a spreadsheet or in another format so faculty can keep an offline record.

Furthermore, the Grade Center allows students to see their own progress in real time. (They do not see other students’ scores. Only the instructor can view all student scores.) Posting clear instructions about how to access this information ensures students are able to see grades and any feedback offered by faculty in a timely manner.


Feedback, Surveys, and Polls

Are students offered opportunities to reflect on the course and their experience?

Use of surveys to collect student feedback can shed light on useful information that can be used to address areas for improvement in course design in future semesters. This is considered a best practice in developing online courses.

Building a community of integrity

Here’s a recommendation from faculty member Cynthia Jones on upholding academic integrity among students:

  • Ask students to accept and commit to a pledge (like the following):PLEDGE (Adapted from “Macaulay Honors College Integrity Pledge”) GE A2, B1, C3, D1As a community of learners, we commit ourselves to working together to become more effective readers, writers, thinkers and problem-solvers. Therefore, I pledge as a member of [course], an academic community,
    •  to engage, think, and learn to the very best of my abilities, both in and out of the classroom;
    • to establish an academic environment that allows members to grow academically and personally in a spirit of cooperation and fellowship;
    • to work to better our neighborhoods, communities, and the world around us;
    • to uphold the values of honesty and integrity in and beyond the classroom; and
    • to treat all humanity with civility and respect, regardless of national or ethnic origin, religious or social affiliation, heritage, disabilities, sexual orientation, race, gender, or political affiliation.
  • Have an initial discussion with the class about the importance of presenting one’s ideas accurately and ethically
  • Address individual infractions with one-on-one conversations and guide the student toward more effective ways of crafting their ideas on paper ethically


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