Module 3: Assessment Strategies for a Virtual Environment


Download transcript [PDF] | Watch the 1:41 minute video Module 3: Introduction [Video].

This module provides you with strategies for high-quality online assessment practices in post-secondary settings. These strategies reflect multidimensional approaches to authentic online assessment practices that incorporate principles of equity and inclusion.

This module presents practical, evidence-informed techniques for online assessment design, delivery, and learner feedback. These techniques encourage creative and effective use of digital tools that you can apply to your teaching contexts.

You will also develop an online assessment strategy that includes diagnostic, formative and summative assessments that promote reflection and help students meet achievement standards articulated by course learning outcomes.

This module has six sections. Completing each section requires approximately 15-20 minutes of your time.

  1. Overview of High-Quality Online Assessments
  2. Traditional Assessments in Virtual Environments
  3. Culturally Responsive Assessments
  4. Authentic Online Assessments
  5. Evaluating Online Assessments
  6. Developing a High-Quality Assessment Strategy

Each section asks you to review content, explore resources, and complete small reflection tasks.

Learning Outcomes

The resources and learning activities included here are intended to support the following learning outcomes:

  • Discuss the characteristics of online assessment that lead to student success.
  • Adapt traditional modes of assessment to authentic modes in online environments.
  • Reflect on alternative assessment practices in support of culturally responsive pedagogies.
  • Develop an online assessment strategy that incorporates principles of equity, inclusion and belonging and fosters student success in real-world contexts.

Guiding Questions

  • Do you design a variety of low-stakes assessments to support learning in an online environment?
  • Do the assessments in your course allow students to develop real-world skills?
  • When designing assessments, do you consider learner identities, interests, goals and learning preferences?
  • For graded assessments, are students clear on expectations and achievement standards?
  • Do you prioritize feedback that helps students work towards meeting learning goals?


Online assessment strategy

Key Terms and Concepts

  • Diagnostic Assessment
  • Formative Assessment
  • Summative Assessment
  • Culturally Responsive Assessment
  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
  • Equity-Deserving Groups
  • Learner Variability
  • Authentic Assessment
  • Alternative Assessment

Recommended Resources

This module refers to strategies and tips adapted from the following resources:

  1. Briefing Paper: Using Formative Assessment to Improve Student Achievement (2012)
  2. Tip Sheet: UDL Tips for Assessment (2021)
  3. Research Study Summary: Teaching Strategies of Award-Winning Online Instructors (2020)
  4. Academic Paper: Analyzing Assessment Practices for Indigenous Students (2021)
  5. Blog Post: Authentic Assessment Toolbox
  6. Animated Video: Authentic Assessment (2018)
  7. Short Article (11-minute read): Authentic Assessment (2019)


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Designing and Developing High-Quality Student-Centred Online/Hybrid Learning Experiences Copyright © 2022 by Seneca College; Humber College; Kenjgewin Teg; Trent University; and Nipissing University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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