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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Online Instruction

Assessment Best Practices

Best Practices

Assessment is important both in measuring students' information literacy skills and in understanding how students perceive and value their learning. Online instruction assessment follows the same principles as in-person assessment but modifications are needed in the delivery and collection of assessment data. Below is a list of some best practices related to online assessment:

  • Tools and strategies used in online assessment often overlap with methods to encouraging students to engage or participate in an online class.

  • Follow instructional design principles (e.g. Backward Design) to first develop your learning objectives before deciding the assessment method.

  • Be mindful of the cognitive load an online assessment tool will add to students' learning experience when selecting an online assessment tool as often a simpler, lower tech option can be better than a high tech but complicated option.

Related Readings

The following guides may be helpful in developing an online instruction assessment strategy and putting it into practice.

  • Emory: Covers different assessment techniques and discusses indirect and direct assessment (called satisfaction and competency assessment elsewhere). Organizes direct assessment section into pre-assessment, formative assessment, and summative assessment, and offers a variety of examples. 

  • University of IowaDivides into satisfaction-based assessment, competency-based assessment, and instruction-based assessment, and provides examples of tools and strategies. 

  • University of West FloridaOutlines and provides examples for different assessment activities such as minute papers, quizzes, in-class observation, etc.

Tools for Online Assessment


  • A multipurpose tool for libraries to create interactive surveys, tutorials, quizzes, and more.
  • Ability to create different question types, embed live webpages, and add multimedia content.
  • LibWizard Best Practices guide from Washington State University


  • A collaborative platform that allows users to engage with and respond to a common topic or question easily.
  • Allows for anonymous responses via text, embedded video, images, links, and more.
  • Variety of layouts available.
  • Updates in real time.

Google Forms

  • A webform that allows for multiple choice, short answer, paragraph, and many other question types.
  • Can be used for minute paper or 3-2-1 assessments

Zoom Polls

  • A Zoom feature that allows direct polling within meeting or webinar 
  • Additional resources

Additional Tools

  • The East Carolina University Assessment Guide has a great list of assessment and online feedback tools for those interested in exploring additional assessment tools.