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Assessment, Academic Integrity, and Community Online

Assessment, Academic Integrity, and Community Online
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Author(s): Rena M. Palloff (Fielding Graduate University, USA) and Keith Pratt (Fielding Graduate University, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 7
Source title: Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Patricia L. Rogers (Bemidji State University, USA), Gary A. Berg (California State University Channel Islands (Retired), USA), Judith V. Boettcher (Designing for Learning, USA), Caroline Howard (HC Consulting, USA), Lorraine Justice (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Karen D. Schenk (K. D. Schenk and Associates Consulting, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch017


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One of the most difficult tasks the online instructor has is to assess student performance. Magennis and Farrell (2005) define teaching as a set of activities that makes learning possible. Assessment strategies should not only measure the degree to which learning has occurred, but should be learning activities in and of themselves (Gaytan, 2002). Tests and quizzes are most often used to assess learning, but are not necessarily the best way to assess discussion-based courses or even skill-based courses as they generally measure the amount of information retained rather than the degree to which learning has occurred. Angelo and Cross (1993) note that the outcomes of assessments are often a disappointment to the instructor as they do not provide feedback on how well teaching activities promoted learning. This may be especially true in the online environment, where instructors are separated from students by time and space, increasing concern about academic integrity along with concern about assessment outcomes. How, then, does the instructor who wants to move away from the use of tests and quizzes develop assessment techniques that measure student learning? How can the use of varied assessment techniques and the development of a supportive online learning community increase the academic integrity of online courses? The following is a discussion of assessment techniques that work well online, and concerns about academic integrity that are often expressed by instructors regarding online learning. Finally, the development of an online learning community is explored as a means by which to reduce these concerns and increase the level of academic integrity online.

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