9. Tri-weekly formative, developmental quizzes/assessment

These activities, run at least every three weeks, provide students with opportunities to check on their progress and measure their understanding of key topics in a subject.

Activities such as multiple-choice and short answer questions are created to stimulate engagement and gauge students’ understanding of key topics. They allow students to receive feedback early and often, and to identify and correct their own knowledge gaps or misconceptions. Quizzes can be used to provide automated grading and feedback, and can help to academic staff to identify and respond to points of confusion in a timely manner during the teaching period. They are well suited to formative and developmental tasks to support students’ preparation for subsequent higher stakes assessment tasks.

How to implement this in your subject

Step one: define learning goals

What do you want your students to achieve? Defining this at the start will give you a better sense of the types of tasks students could complete to achieve those goals, so that you can choose a suitable tool. It can help to map the intended learning outcomes, concepts and key knowledge areas in the subject, then identify key areas where it would benefit students to check their progress and understanding.

Step two: select a learning technology

Once you have a good sense of what you would like your students to achieve, think about the most suitable online tools for delivery.If you plan to these learning technologies for high-stakes assessments such as exams, we highly recommend using the same tool for formative and low-stakes tasks throughout the teaching period, to help students become familiar with the tool.

Canvas quizzes

These have several options for graded or ungraded quizzes. Setting options include availability times, question types and banks, randomisation and automated grading and feedback. You can also access detailed data on how students have performed, individually and as a cohort, to provide timely insights on progress and points of confusion.

Gradescope

Gradescope combines features of online and paper-based approaches. Students can submit their responses in various formats, including images of handwritten responses. Gradescope  can be used to streamline grading and feedback, and is particularly relevant to STEM subjects.

H5P

H5P allows you to create interactive learning activities such as branching scenarios, presentation slides with an embedded set of questions, hotspots. H5P is only recommended for ungraded tasks. Be aware that you will not be able to access as much detailed data on student performance as Canvas Quizzes provides.

Step three: devise and build questions and feedback

Aim to create clear but complex questions that assess the intended learning outcomes of the subject. These questions are most powerful when they ask students to move beyond factual recall of material and challenge them to consider more deeply underlying concepts or principles, apply concepts or relate subject material to other aspects of the subject and course.

Timely feedback provides a great opportunity to support learning. In your feedback, include not just what the correct response is, but why. Consider the timing of your feedback - instant feedback is ideal for reinforcement or path correction, but may not suit all cases.

Canvas quizzes

For an overview of options, self-enrol in Canvas: Learn at your own pace, and complete the quizzes module. When you add a due date, the quiz will be added to students’ calendars and to-do lists.

Gradescope

See this guide on getting started with Gradescope.

H5P (for ungraded formative activities)

See this guide on how to use H5P in Canvas.

Step four: deliver feedback and follow up

Make feedback available as soon as possible after students have completed the activity, while the topic is fresh in mind, and before any subsequent related learning or assessment tasks. To supplement automated feedback, you can address common points of confusion in:

  • A weekly announcement or ‘mail bag’ video
  • A lecture or recording
  • A webinar.

Support and resources

You can use this guide to implement the 2020 category two Learning and Teaching Initiatives.

Contact Learning Environments to speak with a learning designer about your learning goals and how structure and implement your activities.