In this new season of teaching and interacting with students, each faculty will be deciding how to approach testing and assessment. First and foremost, consider your learning outcomes. These are what need to stay in view even in the midst of shifting the format. Stay true to your learning outcomes and be less concerned with adjustments you need to make in the syllabus, grading schema, or assessments. 


With regard to assessment, you might want to consider exchanging 2-3 high-stakes tests with several low-stakes quizzes. What we know from the research about how learning works is that students recall more material through testing than through rereading. This is aptly named the testing effect. We may need to shift our thinking about tests as recall without the assistance of other people or materials to more of a learning tool. To be clear, high-stakes tests aren’t bad and have their place, but may not be ideal at this moment in time.


This is also an opportunity to utilize features within Canvas for interaction and/or assessment you might not have tried. Discussion Boards elicit all sorts of responses from faculty and students alike, but there are definitely ways to word a Discussion Board prompt that can move students to more robust, higher-level responses.


Dr. Cliff Barbarick shared the following prompt written with Dr. Amanda Pittman for an online course they developed:


Purpose: To apply Paul’s ethical reasoning to a present-day issue


Throughout the letters that you explored this week, Paul repeatedly offers the same advice to different communities navigating different ethical dilemmas: imitate Christ. But what does he mean by this? Jesus did a lot of things in his life; which part does Paul want them to imitate? 


Post: In this discussion post, compare and contrast Paul’s appeal to the pattern of Christ in Philippians, 1 Corinthians, and Ephesians. Is he asking them to imitate a different aspect of Christ’s life in the different letters, or is there a common element to the pattern that Paul calls them to imitate in a variety of different situations? Cite evidence from at least two of the letters to make your case.  


Next, identify a present-day issue that causes disputes between groups of Jesus’-followers. We might not fight about whether or not to eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols, but we have analogous debates about other contentious issues. Name one of those current debates, and then explain what it might look like to follow the pattern of Christ in the midst of that debate. How might that pattern chart a right way forward? 


Make sure you have a rubric or guidelines that help with responses to the original poster. Here is the example from Dr. Barbarick and Dr. Pittman’s prompt:


Response: Over the next couple of days, read through the posts from the classmates in your discussion group for this week. Choose one post and offer a substantive response. A substantive response should explain what you appreciate about the post and how it enhances your understanding of the topic. It should also expand on the initial post by citing additional evidence from Philippians, 1 Corinthians, or Ephesians. The expansion might come in one of the following forms: 


  • Complete Affirmation. (“I completely agree, and I think the following passages further support what you are saying . . . .”)
  • Affirmation with a Tweak. (“I’m on board with your general point, but I think, based on the following evidence, I might say it in a slightly different way . . . .”)
  • Polite Disagreement. (“I understand how you’ve arrived at your conclusion, but you have you considered ___________? This evidence leads me to a different conclusion. . . .”


Another Canvas feature that allows for significant student interaction is Peer Review.


To set up quizzes in Canvas, please refer to the following tutorials and/or contact the Adams Center for further assistance.


If you’ve used a paper copy of a test outside of Canvas and now need that test in Canvas, the Adams Center has a tool to assist with this process. 


If you need to administer a test that requires a more secure testing setup, you can utilize Lockdown Browser and Respondus. The Innovation Foundry graciously shared a “cheat sheet” for Respondus you can find HERE.


As always, please contact a member of the Adams Center staff for assistance with your testing and assessment needs.