Magna Online Seminars

Assessment Alternatives for Your Online Courses

Design Better Online Assessments to Deliver Better Online Courses

It is time to refocus online courses away from superficial fact-based lessons and toward competency-based learning. Online learning is evolving quickly and new questions about assessment in the online classroom arise, such as:

  • How can we ensure that students truly grasp the course material?
  • How can we increase relevance and real-world application?
  • How can we keep up with rapidly developing technology to maintain academic integrity?

The next step lies in the maturing of our assessment methodology. Effective assessment provides the starting point for creating better and more effective Internet-based learning. It amplifies the inherent benefits of online education while minimizing the difficulties. 

Advancement in the quality of online learning means:

  • An emphasis on outcome-based learning, not seat-time/credit-hours learning
  • The inclusion of opportunities for relearning
  • The employment of a more diverse array of assessment methods
  • The movement of students toward true mastery of critical content

A sizable body of effective online assessment practices already exists, but it’s difficult for busy educators to find the time to review current literature. That’s why Magna offers the convenient 60-minute online seminar Assessment Alternatives for Your Online Classes. 

Dr. Rena Palloff and Dr. Keith Pratt are two of the foremost authorities in the online learning field. In this seminar, they have compiled the most useful observations from their extensive work on both the theory and practice of online teaching. You will have the opportunity to tap into their combined experience and borrow from their extensive assessment toolbox.

Discover how alternative assessment methods can make you a more effective instructor, both online and in the classroom.

Topics Covered

Everything starts with basic principles of assessment. Once those building blocks are in place, you will learn to adapt and apply them to meet the specific needs of your online courses. During Assessment Alternatives for Your Online Classes., you will learn how to:

  • Design truly learner-centered assessments
  • Create clear, easy-to-understand assessments specifically for the online environment
  • Align with learning objectives to ensure that students learn what you teach
  • Use authentic assessments to improve relevance and prevent plagiarism
  • Devise grading rubrics to assess learning activities that are hard to quantify
  • Save time by using collaborative assessments to “crowd source” the evaluations
  • Channel students’ efforts to provide feedback with clear guidelines and modeling
  • Tailor your assessment techniques to the context to provide more useful feedback
  • Employ student input to generate more effective assessments
  • Create rubrics that allow students to measure their own progress

Traditional tests and quizzes are limited to determining the amount of information retained. Better assessments lead to better course design and improved student performance. Moreover, better assessment provides more useful feedback for you and your students, so you both experience greater success.


Rena Palloff, Ph.D.
Dr. Palloff is the owner of Crossroads West, working with institutions, organizations, and corporations interested in the development of online distance learning and training programs.  Rena is faculty at Fielding Graduate University.  She is also part-time faculty at Capella University and at Walden University. Additionally, she has designed and facilitates the New Faculty Experience (NFE) at University of the Rockies. 
Keith Pratt, Ph.D.
Dr. Pratt is faculty at Walden University, Capella University, and Wayland Baptist University. He has also co-authored eight books with Dr. Rena Palloff, the first of which won the Frandson Award for most significant contribution to Adult Continuing Education Literature for the past ten years, presented by ACCE. 

Who Should Watch this Program 

Anyone involved in designing or teaching online courses—or who might be in the future—will benefit from attending Assessment Alternatives for Your Online Classes. You should register if you are:

  • A faculty member or instructor who teaches online at any level or in any discipline
  • A department head
  • An academic administrator
  • A course or curriculum designer
Current trends indicate that online education will continue to grow. Even if you are not currently teaching an online course, it’s likely that you will be in the near future.

Faculty who have demonstrated knowledge and skills in online assessment are increasingly in demand, as colleges and universities begin to direct more budget resources to online education. This is a must-attend seminar to learn these valuable abilities.

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System Requirements:
To watch a Magna Online Seminar, you simply need a computer with speakers, web browser, Windows Media Player, and the Microsoft Silverlight plug-in.

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