Designing Assessments in Blackboard CourseSites

Blackboard CourseSites. This free, course management site (CMS) is not one I have used in the past. As I have explored its features and implications for assessment, I have been impressed with the options available.

Recently, I developed a professional development learning experience for teachers in early childhood settings to explore design thinking. After providing a general introduction, I offered learners the opportunity to reflect in a Google Doc. I decided to try out the features in Blackboard CourseSites to improve this assessment.

The available features could have created some elaborate assessments- adding elaborate equations to solve, attaching videos, audio, images, multiple choice questions, matching, true and false, and essay questions. On the grading side, there is flexibility to have multiple graders, anonymous grading, to use points, percentages, letter grades, or rubrics.

Since my assessment is for adult learners in a professional development context, I wanted my assessment to be simple, easy to navigate, but to represent learning through artifacts and I was able to accomplish this in the CMS. This is how my assessment matched up with my Assessment Design Checklist:

QuestionsHow it is addressed in Blackboard CourseSites
Have I started by articulating the needs of all students?Articulating student needs took place before creating this assessment. My adult learners need opportunities to connect content to their context. It needs to be brief and simple to navigate.
Have I made specific plans for using this assessment to impact the instructional design of future learning?I plan for learners to build upon this self-assessment at the end of each unit as a way to keep notes on changes they want to make in their own classrooms.
Does my assessment provide timely feedback that will promote the transfer of skills to a new context?By using Blackboard CourseSites, I can assign this self-reflection immediately after the unit. The final question asks learners to synthesize their learning by creating a design thinking process poster appropriate for their context. This CMS allows learners to upload the resulting file.
Have I ensured my goals are explicit and my students are able to self-assess their progress against the goals?This question was best addressed in this CMS through the Journal feature. I did not need the extensive variety of quiz questions for my self-assessment. However, the journal feature is a flexible tool that can be graded or ungraded and allows learners to upload any file type, add links, and respond in writing.
Have I articulated expectations for cooperative learning and social skills during learning and assessment?There were no opportunities for cooperative learning in this unit.

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