Assessment Activities in Massive Open On-Line Courses: Assessment Activities in MOOCs

Assessment Activities in Massive Open On-Line Courses: Assessment Activities in MOOCs

Pedro J. Muñoz-Merino, José A. Ruipérez-Valiente, Juan Luis Sanz Moreno, Carlos Delgado Kloos
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0420-8.ch029
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This chapter analyzes the different implications of the new MOOC paradigm in assessment activities, emphasizing the differences with respect to other non MOOC educational technology environments and giving an insight about the redesign of assessment activities for MOOCs. The chapter also compares the different assessment activities that are available in some of the most used MOOC platforms at present. In addition, the process of design of MOOC assessment activities is analyzed. Specific examples are given about how to design and create different types of assessment activities. The Genghis authoring tool as a solution for the creation of some types of exercises in the Khan Academy platform is presented. Finally, there is an analysis of the learning analytics features related to assessment activities that are present in MOOCs. Moreover, some guidelines are provided about how to interpret and take advantage of this information.
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Assessment is usually an important aspect for every learning process. Educational assessment can be defined as the process of planning and designing learning activities to collect students’ data, as well as the interpretation and reporting of this data to have a deep understanding about students’ learning in different skills. The assessment activities are typically divided into two types: formative and summative (Marsch, 2004). Formative assessment involves learning activities which are used to monitor student learning in different concepts and skills in order to provide feedback or advice to students so that they can improve their learning, but there is not usually an associated grade for their evaluation. Formative assessment usually involves activities to review specific concepts. On the other hand, summative assessment involves learning activities to know whether students have a certain required level. Summative assessment activities have an associated grade which counts for the evaluation and usually involves activities with several concepts (e.g. of a complete unit or a final exam).

The increased use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as a mean to get to students and teach in ways that could not be done before is on the rise. More and more schools, universities and institutions are adopting or creating platforms for professors to get their content to their students wherever they are. The MOOCs imply a new paradigm which has an effect on assessment activities. In MOOC environments, new types of learning activities are more suitable for assessment and other usual assessment learning activities should be redefined. As courses are massive (with hundreds or thousands of students), teachers cannot monitor students one by one in each of the assessment activities and a redefinition of assessment activities should be done.

This required redefinition of assessment activities has technical implications but also teachers’ implications. Technical implications include the development of machine learning algorithms, the design of authoring tools or the development of learning analytics systems. Regarding teachers’ implications, although some evaluation tasks are automatic, teachers should devote more time in the design phase (e.g. to configure peer review activities or define hints during the learning process) and in the execution phase (e.g. to interpret high level information provided by learning analytics modules).

This book chapter has the following objectives regarding assessment in MOOCs:

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