Oct. 3, 2022Print | PDF
Since Laurier discontinued the use of remote proctoring during assessments in 2021, Alesha Moffat, an educational developer, and Stefan Todoroff, an instructional designer, have been working one on one with faculty members as they transition to alternative assessment forms, such as papers, presentations and open book exams. Together, they’ve supported faculty in redesigning assessments in more than 80 online courses across disciplines.
As an instructional designer, Todoroff’s role has traditionally focused on developing and improving online courses, while Moffat’s role as an educational developer has typically focused on supporting faculty teaching in-person courses. However, both have similar approaches to course design and pedagogical development and both are invested in finding fair and effective assessments and improving learning experiences for students. With more and more courses incorporating online elements since the beginning of the pandemic, the two roles have become more interconnected and overlapping.
“Our complementary skills and shared purpose form a strong foundation for collaboration, bringing together a relevant mix of strengths to inform the work. Course instructors bring their rich and discipline-specific experience and we bring our diverse experiences and knowledge as an instructional designer and educational developer,” says Moffat.
To best support faculty members in making decisions about their online courses, Moffat and Todoroff typically start with the end in mind, first considering the course’s intended learning outcomes before discussing assessment types and additional supporting materials.
They consider each faculty member’s unique teaching approaches and priorities, course objectives and learning outcomes, as well as class size, course structure, time constraints and resources, such as whether teaching assistants will be available to help with grading. For all courses, they encourage small, incremental changes, which tend to be more sustainable and manageable.
Following the discontinuation of the use of AI-driven remote proctoring software, some faculty members already knew how they wanted their assessments changed, sometimes by simply removing the remote proctoring software from the exam or by making the exam an open-book format. In other cases, a more involved discussion about the course and its objectives was needed.
“The express purpose of our work was to review assessments, but often through that process of reviewing assessments it brought to light other things in the course instructors decided they wanted to improve or revise,” says Todoroff.
Some faculty members began conversations with Todoroff and Moffat about other aspects of their courses, including approaches to group work, facilitating student feedback and effective ways to engage and motivate learners.
Moffat and Todoroff encouraged faculty members to consider creative ways to motivate and engage learners, including integrated and collaborative learning approaches.
Additionally, they recommended authentic assessments as alternatives to remote-proctored assessments. As part of authentic assessments, students are asked to apply what they’ve learned in a course to a real-world situation. Asking students to use higher-order thinking – creating, analyzing or evaluating, for instance – allows for a deeper and more engaging and relevant learning experience.
Authentic assessment strategies that Laurier faculty members incorporated into their classes included asking students to create infographics to display information, present posters to the class, and work on case studies and group discussion projects.
Regardless of the alternative chosen, the assessment redesign process is ongoing and iterative, as faculty members continuously review, refine, modify and improve their approaches, in collaboration with the Educational Development and eLearning teams.
Faculty members interested in support with online course development or redevelopment can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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