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What Can Online Classes Contribute to Assessment?
Unformatted Document Text:  “Assessment in the Online Environment” Philip H. Pollock, Kerstin Hamann, and Bruce M. Wilson Introduction The way professors are instructing college students is undergoing a process of change. While two decades ago, lectures and seminars constituted the dominant form of college teaching, many professors are now experimenting with new teaching strategies emphasizing active learning (including strategies such as interactive learning, simulations, and case-based learning) to make learning more student-centered and increase student engagement. Professors have also defined new learner objectives to include skill-building in an effort to equip students to be life-long learners. Finally, professors have embraced new teaching tools, especially electronic delivery of course materials for both the instructor and the student, including the use of the Internet. Online teaching has employed tools such as online course management software (e.g. WebCT or Blackboard), pod-casting, or the use of virtual worlds. This shift in teaching strategies has been facilitated by the development of popularly accessible technology and is rapidly taking hold in colleges and universities across the United States. In addition, online teaching is of particular interests to college administrators since it tends to appeal to non-traditional students who are not able to attend classes during the day due to work or family obligations or because they cannot easily relocate to a place that is near a college. It can also help alleviate the pressure for classroom space in universities with an expanding student population. Students enrolling in online classes often state that they like the flexibility of working on their own time and not having to 1

Authors: Hamann, Kerstin., Pollock, Philip. and Wilson, Bruce.
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“Assessment in the Online Environment”
Philip H. Pollock, Kerstin Hamann, and Bruce M. Wilson
Introduction
The way professors are instructing college students is undergoing a process of
change. While two decades ago, lectures and seminars constituted the dominant form of
college teaching, many professors are now experimenting with new teaching strategies
emphasizing active learning (including strategies such as interactive learning,
simulations, and case-based learning) to make learning more student-centered and
increase student engagement. Professors have also defined new learner objectives to
include skill-building in an effort to equip students to be life-long learners. Finally,
professors have embraced new teaching tools, especially electronic delivery of course
materials for both the instructor and the student, including the use of the Internet. Online
teaching has employed tools such as online course management software (e.g. WebCT or
Blackboard), pod-casting, or the use of virtual worlds. This shift in teaching strategies has
been facilitated by the development of popularly accessible technology and is rapidly
taking hold in colleges and universities across the United States.
In addition, online teaching is of particular interests to college administrators
since it tends to appeal to non-traditional students who are not able to attend classes
during the day due to work or family obligations or because they cannot easily relocate to
a place that is near a college. It can also help alleviate the pressure for classroom space in
universities with an expanding student population. Students enrolling in online classes
often state that they like the flexibility of working on their own time and not having to
1


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