Students taking a degree program or an individual course online will still be tested at regular intervals throughout their study period to assess their understanding of the course materials.
For those new to online education, this process can be intimidating. But there’s no need to worry! Online institutions are experienced professionals, they’ll ensure that your assessments are fair, comfortable, and designed to help you make the most of your learning experience.
Discover the assessment types you’re likely to encounter when taking an online degree program or course:
These are probably the method of assessment that students will have the most experience with. For each assignment, you’ll receive your topic, deadline and word count. You’ll be required to produce a structured, reasoned argument within the boundaries set out by your course instructor.
Face-to-face discussions between friends and colleagues is something that we all do every day. However, an online academic discussion requires a different set of skills, and might not come as naturally when your first start your online learning journey. Not to worry, you’ll get the hang of it!
These activities will differ depending on the institution, but your course instructor will generally start each discussion off with a question or topic for debate. Students then need to research the topic and post their responses to the task demonstrating their own knowledge and understanding. Often, you’ll end up in a debate with the ideas and views posted by fellow students.
Like discussion boards, journal activities tend to be specific to online courses. A journal entry is an ongoing update giving you the opportunity to reflect back on what you’ve learned during the period under review, and how you’ll apply what you’ve learned in the future. Online learning doesn’t take place in classrooms, and journal entries are straightforward ways for course instructors to get a grasp of how you’re progressing through the course and if you’re gaining knowledge in the right areas. Unlike other assignments, it is acceptable to use a subjective, personal style of writing in journal entries and refer to yourself in the first person.
Although they can be nerve-wracking, exams are a key way to test your learning. Institutions may choose to allow students to complete their exams on their own personal computer, in a location of their choosing. Because tutors have no way to oversee a virtual exam or test, they are typically open-book and open-note. As a viable alternative, many institutions will offer the option of completing ‘take-home’ examinations in the form of an essay or final assignment. Some institutions may use exam software like virtual proctors, or tools to monitor if you visit new web pages.