Author: Elizabeth Lemke

Creating Effective Assessments: A Case Study

One of the hallmarks of a quality online course is alignment among learning objectives, instructional materials, and assessments to ensure critical course components work together so learners can achieve desired learning outcomes. This post illustrates how alignment drives the development and implementation of effective assessments. Assessment is the method we use to gather data about students in order to evaluate, measure, and document their learning progress, such as exams, papers, and discussions. Let’s dive deeper into alignment and creating effective assessments by examining course- and module-level learning objectives and a potential assessment strategy for one of our SPS online courses.


CanvasCon 2016 Highlights

CanvasCon is a regional conference where like-minded educators and technology enthusiasts get together to share the latest innovations and what exciting things are coming next for Canvas and its users. Lucky us, CanvasCon came to Northwestern on August 31, and some of the Distance Learning team had the opportunity to attend and present. Read some of the highlights below.   Quizzing Engine Highlights – Krissy Wilson, Learning Designer Jason Philip Sparks, Instructure’s Senior Product Manager for Assessment, walked through Canvas’s next-generation quizzing engine in the first concurrent session of the day, “Quizzes.next: Modern Testing in Canvas.” What’s on deck? You


New to Online Course Design and Teaching? No Problem! We’ve Got You Covered!

Online course design and teaching presents a unique set of challenges and rewards. There are dozens of new variables to consider, like course structure, content delivery, and synchronous sessions. There’s no face-to-face classroom interaction or collecting students work in real time. You might need to reevaluate your teaching style, make some pedagogical changes, or embrace moments of temporary panic, but always remember your support network and the ultimate goal of creating a positive, rigorous, and rich learning experience for your students. You’re not alone! For more on shifting expectations, helpful resources, the rewards of online course design and teaching, read


Successes and Lessons Learned: Designing Online Group Presentations

As much as we like to think our online courses are perfect, there is always room for improvement. Our job is never done. On the Distance Learning team, we are first and foremost concerned with partnering with faculty to develop high-quality learning experiences for students. That includes the ongoing process of revisiting courses and individual assessments: how well did this work for students and instructors, and how can we make it better? The Distance Learning team believes in a good challenge, and during the Spring 2016 course development cycle, faculty developer Dave DeVries and I met and conquered a design


Creating a Syllabus Using Quality Matters Standards

What does a quality online course look like? How do we make sure every course is high quality? How do we measure or define quality? Those are all tough questions we ask ourselves every day (or at least very, very frequently) as we design and develop online courses. The Distance Learning team has been working hard to establish and implement quality standards using Quality Matters (QM): “a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online courses and online components.” We use QM as framework for quality throughout our course design process, from start to finish,