In online courses, as with face-to-face courses, assessing learning is a central issue. In a recently published book chapter, CHNM staff contributed to this discussion based on their experiences developing and teaching online courses for practicing teachers.
In “How We Learned to Drop the Quiz: Writing in Online Asynchronous Courses,” graduate research assistants Celeste Tường Vy Sharpe and Nate Sleeter and education division director Kelly Schrum, talk about eliminating multiple-choice quizzes from online courses, an experience that enabled both instructors and participants to focus on providing meaningful feedback. Without the quiz, instructors were better able to emphasize iterative writing and its relationship to historical thinking.
As the authors write, “The opportunities for course participants to revisit and revise their interpretations over the span of a module and the course as a whole allowed for a stronger focus on the process of historical thinking over rote memorization.”
Online humanities education represents an opportunity to reach new students. In order to best serve students, especially given the rapid growth of online courses, the scholarship teaching and learning online is vitally important. Teaching and learning, the authors believe, must prioritize providing students with meaningful feedback. How to best to incorporate this feedback will remain a central focus going forward.
The chapter is part of Web Writing: Why and How for Liberal Arts Teaching and Learning, a volume dedicated to teaching writing across disciplines with an emphasis on the unique nature of writing online. This is the product of an innovative, open, peer review process overseen by editors Jack Dougherty and Tennyson O’Donnell of Trinity College. The book is available online for free or by order from the University of Michigan Press.