The first week of Assessment in E-Learning introduced students to several tools that could be used in assessment: interviews, surveys and wikis. While interviews and surveys are not strictly technology related, they are easily adapted and might even be improved upon with the use of technology. Wikis, on the other hand, are a basic Web 2.0 tool and are exceptionally adaptable to collaborative work.
All three tools could be used as screening, diagnostic, or selection devices, though the interview and survey may be best suited to those purposes. Survey or interview responses could be utilized to screen students for certain learning groups according to interest or if the survey or interview questions were set up appropriately to diagnose subject area deficiencies.
The interview for this module was conducted using e-mail. Ellen and Albana emailed their questions to me and I responded while emailing my own questions to them for their response. E-mail worked well for this exercise, however, many other technology based tools that could be utilized to conduct such interviews. Social networking vehicles such as Facebook, Edmodo (a private social network for educational use), or Skype offer alternative methods of conducting long distance interviews using technology. Some even offer the ability to conduct such interviews synchronously in real time. It would even be possible to record and screencast Skyped interviews.
As part of the introduction to the class, Dr. Khalsa utilized a survey created in Survey Monkey, a free web survey tool, to assess the individual needs of the students in the class. While she did not share the results of the survey with the class, I am sure it gave her a better picture of her students especially since in an online learning environment there is no face-to-face interaction.
My favorite tool of those utilized this first week is the Wiki, as it can be utilized for dynamic learning and assessment by both individuals and groups. Students in the Assessment in E-Learning class, collaboratively developed Netiquette guidelines for our class using a PBWiki site set up by Dr. Khalsa. I love the fact that Wikis are an easily learned technology and that they are so easily editable. Learning is a dynamic process and understandings change as more is learned. The Wiki is especially suited for record keeping and feedback. As a collaborative device, instructors and group members have a built in record of the contributions of individual team members. Furthermore, a Wiki allows for feedback from all group members, not just the instructor, making the learning process more social.