Online Assessment Strategies

Assessing student learning online can be challenging, especially in courses that were designed to be taught in-person. There are a number of strategies and tools that can help you develop or refine assessments that effectively measure student learning in your class setting. On this page we share “What Works: New Ideas in Grading and Assessment.”

Assessment Strategies

Assessing Engagement and Interaction

As you consider ways students can engage and interact online, think about how to use student groups, collaborative writing, group reading and annotation, and online discussions:

Peer Assessments

Having students assess each other provides students opportunities to reflect on their own learning, improve their course work, and develop life-long skills in providing constructive feedback:


Creating frequent, low-stakes opportunities for students to assess their own learning and for instructors to gauge how students are learning contributes to successful online classes. Additionally, adding quizzes to videos can keep students engaged and active as they learn the course material.

Assessment Tools

Canvas tools

In addition to the above, it may be helpful to know about other Canvas tools, including outcomes and rubrics, as you develop or refine your assessment plan.

  • Outcomes: Linking assessments directly to your learning outcomes can make the course design more meaningful to students, just as it helps you keep your course outcomes aligned with your assessments. Consider using Canvas Outcomes to help make this explicit
  • Assignments: there are many ways to use assignments to provide students to practice using the knowledge and skills they are building
  • Gradebook: understanding the Canvas Gradebook can help as you develop your assessment plan
  • You might also want to consider Gradescope to make grading more efficient and effective
  • Rubrics: using a well-designed rubric can help manage your ability to provide useful feedback to students, and helps you communicate clear expectations