Topic design basics

This resource introduces some basic topic design considerations, and offers a range of ideas for practice, with an emphasis on designing for online

Online assessment

The online environment opens up new affordances for assessment, as well as posing some interesting challenges. The trick is to design the assessment for online, rather than trying to convert an existing assessment to work online, although this is often possible. When designing assessment for online, consider the conditions for the assessment, some of which can be systematised through selecting particular settings in some tools. For instance, an assignment can be set to draft until a certain date, or restrictions placed on availability dates or how it is shared and viewed.

Assessment types might include:

  • Participation in topic activity (e.g. posting and responding in forums)
  • Assessments with stages (e.g. a report plan, followed by a draft report, followed by the polished version)
  • Completion activities – with prescribed conditions 
  • Authentic assessment using real-life activities 
  • Work-integrated learning (WIL)
  • ePortfolio of created items over time
  • Peer assessment and self assessment 
  • Automated assessment (e.g. quizzes)
  • A polished product or artifact relevant to the discipline 
Potential benefits of online assessment
Provides a lasting record of the assessment Feedback can be instant
Can be accessed for assessment by multiple people Can be repurposed beyond the assessment task
Assessment can be put into the open Can simulate difficult assessment environments
Builds digital literacy skills Data can be used to improve learning design
Creates a polished product Assessment can be done remotely
Mirrors real-world tasks Assessment can be done in real time
Multiple copies are possible Assessment can be done in own time
Assessment can be automated Exemplars can be shared
Feedback can be automated Supports moderation exercises

Formats for assessment 

Assessments using technology can happen in the following ways:

  • Assessment tool is fully integrated as part of the online environment (e.g. quiz tool in FLO)
  • Assessments are linked to through the topic site (e.g. private ePortfolio hosted on a website)
  • Assignments are submitted and returned through the online environment (using FLO assignments tool)