Assessments can be used to test knowledge in increments throughout the class (formative) and at the end of a class (summative). Here is a resource that describes the role of formative and summative questions in the context of course development: Back to the Basics on Curriculum Design, Paving the Way for Your Learners
Here is a basic timeline of a course and where outcomes and objectives are fulfilled in formative and summative questions:
Within these two categories (formative and summative), there are endless ways to write questions to measure an objective or an outcome. Formative questions are connected to the course objectives and they are a low-stakes way of assessing knowledge. For example, you present a module of course material and put knowledge checks after each sub-section to see if the learner has retained the information. This is helpful to you as an instructor to see if the learners are understanding the information you wrote and it is helpful for a learner to gauge their personal progress. The learner can also find areas of opportunity or focus throughout the class.
Examples of formative questions
Summative questions are linked to the course outcomes. The assessment is usually a final project or exam. It is a demonstration of the knowledge gained and the items should map back to a specific outcome listed at the beginning of the course. The summative evaluation is a demonstration of mastery and proficiency after the course material has been covered.
Examples of Summative Assessments
There are numerous ways to build assessments in your online course and both Moodle and Canvas have question-building tools to help guide your process. Traditional questions, such as multiple choice, true/false, essay, fill-in-the-blank, and matching are available. Each LMS has additional question types and they are detailed in the resources below.
How to write questions in Moodle
How to write questions in Canvas
In an online class, communication is one of the most important aspects of teaching and rubrics are a great resource for boosting communication. Assessing projects and written material can be daunting and also a point of miscommunication between you and your learners. A rubric can help communicate your expectations of a course requirement and helps students understand their grade. It’s easier to communicate an evaluation online when there are clear expectations and feedback.