Three Critical Concepts for Assessing Asynchronous Discussion Questions

Conference Archive

Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2012 - March 23, 2012

Katherine Hixson

Assessment Specialist- Instructional Design
Pearson Learning Solutions - Custom Curriculum

One of the most widely used instructional activities for online and blended learning environments is the asynchronous online discussion, however it is also one of the least understood components. People utilize online discussions more for lower-level thinking skills such as remembering and understanding than for higher-order skills such as analyzing, evaluating, and creating. To benefit from this course discussion component we must address a three-fold issue how do we develop discussion questions, as well as how do we design and deliver assessments of students’ responses.

This session will provide solutions to each of the issue areas. Participants will get a practical guide to developing questions that encourage higher-order thinking skills along with real-world examples. You’ll learn a framework for developing sound assessments of discussion questions, and get demonstrations of technological tools to aid in the delivery of these processes and their applications.

In this session, you will learn:

  • How to design discussion questions that encourage higher-order thinking skills
  • The technologies that support the question-design process
  • The technologies that support the assessment design process
  • When you should assess discussion questions in terms of both summative and formative measures
  • How to design simple and effective assessment tools

Audience: Intermediate-level participants should have general knowledge regarding Bloom’s Taxonomy, the instructional design process, online course delivery and pedagogy, and LMS navigation.


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