ERIC Number: ED423273
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998
How Is Assessment Being Done in Distance Learning?
This report is a summary of research that was recently conducted with instructors of distance learning programs. Sixty-two professors from 10 categories of courses completed an e-mail survey. The advantages and disadvantages of assessments seemed to revolve around the key issues of time, synthesis or knowledge acquisition, subjective or objective grading, and the real world. The four types of assessments most commonly mentioned were case studies, examinations, papers, and projects. The power of case studies was identified as their current, real-world application of concepts. They were used for improvement feedback, to evaluate, to facilitate learning, and to measure application and understanding. Examinations, the most traditional form of assessment, were cited for feedback and grading. Papers were most commonly used for the detailed analysis of one subject area, while projects were used by the instructor to help students set goals, evaluate the instructor, and provide grades. Quality was being maintained by these professors in generally informal ways, with comparisons and reviews of the assessments themselves being common approaches. In these distance learning situations, e-mail was the most common way students submitted work, although students used site facilitators or dropped off work when possible. Users were divided about the advantages and disadvantages of different delivery methods for lessons and assessment. Text delivery of content was a difficult area to define, but the typical course mailed a syllabus, learning resources, and text books to the student, who turned in assignments by e-mail, the Internet or fax. Cheating on assessments was the most emotionally charged issue in the study, with even defining cheating being difficult at the distance learning level. The first appendix discuses the study methodology and the e-mail survey, the second presents the interview guide, and the third is the survey itself. (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the NAU/web.98 conference (Flagstaff, AZ, May 28-30, 1998).