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Online Assessment, Surveying and Polling

Formative assessment is directed towards improving learning, as opposed to summative assessment, which grades results. The learning by students is enhanced when both are present. A variety of online tools can be used for both formative and summative assessment. This workshop explores assessment options in Blackboard. In addition to creating graded quizzes and tests, one can develop practice quizzes, surveys and self-assessments. VCU also provides two software packages that work with Bb: Respondus and StudyMate. Respondus batch loads questions from existing Word documents or publisher test banks into a Blackboard ready format. Once exams are incorporated into Respondus, they can be repurposed by StudyMate into study guides or study games (think crossword puzzles or Jeopardy games). Finally, we will examine online polling options that can be used in lieu of clickers. All of these offer opportunities for more formative assessments in your classes.


By the end of this session you should be able to:

  • Differentiate between summative and formative assessment
  • Effectively use the assessment options available in Blackboard
    • Tests, Surveys, Question Pools
    • Practice formative quiz options versus summative quizzes
  • Describe linkages between assessments and the Grade Center in Blackboard
    • Grading Tests, Assignments, and Discussions
  • Download Respondus and StudyMate
  • Effectively use Respondus to:
    • Create tests and quizzes, surveys, and pools
    • Import tests and quizzes from Word documents or test banks
    • Publish Respondus tests, surveys and pools into Blackboard
  • Effectively use StudyMate to repurpose Respondus files into study aids or games
  • Create online polls using web applications

Session Overview


  • Field-tested Learning Assessment Guide - Classroom Assessment Techniques, http://www.flaguide.org/cat/cat.php
  • Gaytan, Jorge and Beryl McEwen (2007), “Effective Online Instructional and Assessment Strategies,” The American Journal of Distance Education, Vol. 21(3), http://edtech.boisestate.edu/elearn/assessment.pdf.
  • Palloff, Rena M. and Keith Pratt (2009) Assessing the Online Learner: Resources and Strategies for Faculty, Jossey-Bass
  • Angelo, TA. and K. Patricia Cross (1993) Classroom Assessment Techniques (2nd Edition), Jossey-Bass.
  • Schaeffer, E., Bhargava, T., Nash, J., Kerns, C. and Stocker, S. (2001) “Innovation from Within the Box: Evaluation of Online Problem Sets in a Series of Large Lecture

For more information, contact Britt Watwood (8-1896 or bwatwood@vcu.edu).

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Last modified: June 20, 2013
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