Activities and Assessments for Online Teaching and Learning

There are many strategies for learning activities and assessment in a face-to-face learning environment that may not provide the same opportunities for demonstration of learning in an online environment. Live online meetings may present barriers to students, and potentially lead to inequity in students’ learning experiences. For this reason, asynchronous alternatives to traditional synchronous strategies may provide the same demonstration of learning, but in a different form.

When considering these alternatives, it’s important to consider the purpose of the activity or assessment you wish to provide, along with the form that student-created artefacts should take. The following approaches provide online alternatives for students to demonstrate their learning while also expanding opportunities for creative expression, engagement with wider professional communities of practice, all while learning additional skills beyond the creation of a written document or presentation file.

It is important to consider that mandating a specific technology is not recommended. As all students have different preferences and confidence with technology tools, allowing students the option to create artefacts using tools they are familiar with, or wanting to explore is recommended. While some students may be more highly motivated to complete an assignment through the learning of new tools, consider including a disclaimer for students cautioning them on the time it takes to learn new tools vs. completing the assignment objectives. If you’d like to learn more, Open UBC’s Teaching in the Open resource can help.

Learning Outcome Activity / Assessment Strategy Traditional Alternative
Explore a topic (birds eye view), and play with ideas and find areas of interest. Students work together or individually to source ideas around a topic. Face-to-Face Brainstorming Activity
  • Annotation of Web site, Document or Video 
  • Concept Map / Mind map
Recall of information related to a particular topic area / theory (e.g., terms, theories, concepts, etc.) Students complete a series of questions that demonstrate either recall of learned information or essay responses to case study scenarios Exam / Pop Quiz
  • Flash cards
  • Study Guide 
  • Tutorial video
Understand a particular topic area / theory Summarize / synthesize a list of readings and critically analyze arguments. Literature Review, Essay, Annotated Bibliography. 
  • Website / Blog 
  • Video tutorial
  • Interactive Timeline
Understand a particular topic area / theory Read a case study and work as an individual or group to present analysis of case study based on literature. Written Case Study Analysis
  • Website / Blog 
  • Visualization 
  • eBook 
  • Virtual Tour
  • Video presentation
Demonstrate leadership/expertise in a particular topic area / theory Students work together to create materials that demonstrate their understanding of a topic and / or contribute to new knowledge in the subject area. Written Group Project or face-to-face Presentation Virtual Conference (including Website, Blog, Visualization, eBook, interactive book, Virtual Tour, Video presentation, online game)
Reflect on one’s own learning process over time using metacognitive approaches, while also demonstrating leadership/expertise in a topic area Students gather assessment submissions across the duration of their program and write reflections on each, demonstrating an understanding of their own learning progression. Portfolio
  • Website / Blog
  • Visualization
  • eBook
  • Virtual Tour
  • Video presentation
Understand research methodologies and conduct research. Students identify a topic of interest and engage in a small informal research project, including the gathering of data, analysis and writing of results and discussion of implications. Written Research Project
  • Video documentary
  • Website / Blog
  • eBook
  • Virtual tour
  • Journal Article

Learning Technologies that Support these Activities

Note that tools with a * are not institutionally supported tools at UBC, and thus may require students to create accounts and have implications for FIPPA and student privacy. To learn more about protecting student privacy please see Choosing Learning Technologies: Student Privacy

Annotation of Web, Image, Document, or Video: CLAS | ThingLink* | Perusall* |*

Blog / Website: UBC Blogs (example) | Weebly* (example)  | Wix* | WordPress*

Concept & Mind Maps: Kumu* | Lucidcart* | Mindmup*

Collaborative Documents: Canvas Pages | UBC Wiki | Etherpad* | Wikipedia*

eBooks: Bookcreator* (examples) | iBooks Author* | LucidPress*

Journal Article: Open Journal System by the Public Knowledge Project (PKP)* 

Flash Cards: Tinycards* | Quizlet*

Interactive Timeline: H5P

Visualizations: Canva* | Pikochart*  | Venngage* | Visme*

Video: Canvas video recorder | Kaltura | Adobe Spark* | Presentio*

Virtual Tour: Google Tour Creator*