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Principles of Online Design
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Instructional Design

Instructional/Audience Analysis | Goals/Objectives | Instructional Activities | Evaluation | Teaching Strategies

  1.4. Evaluation
1.4.1 Methods and procedures for formative and summative course evaluation should be carefully planned in the course design process.

A. Formative evaluation can take the form of learner assessments, communication with students, and periodic evaluations given to students.

B. Summative evaluation can include analysis of formative assessments, student examinations, surveys, and interviews with students.



Provide feedback to students throughout the semester. Ask for feedback from students throughout the semester. Maintain a log or record of this feedback such as a folder with email messages pertaining to the course.

Many Course Management Systems, such as ANGEL, Blackboard, and Desire2Learn , have a gradebook feature and other components that can be used to keep students appraised of their individual progress.

Provide an online evaluation form to make it easier for students to provide feedback. Some Course Management Systems have a survey feature that can be used for this purpose.


  • Workload on students (too much, too little)
  • Learning activities (helpful or just busywork)
  • Notes and study guides (clear, helpful, understandable)
  • Objectives (well-defined and articulated)
  • Course organization (logical, orderly)
  • Instructor issues (helpful, knowledgeable, and punctual).

    Use survey tool within Course Management System (ANGEL) to do "quick polls" or surveys.

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1.4.2 Methods and procedures for evaluating student learning must be well articulated and directly linked to the stated learner objective


A. Design formative and summative evaluation methods that are congruent with the instructional activities and that will ultimately support student achievement of the stated learning goals.

B. Use varied and frequent self-evaluation methods or low-stakes testing to guide the learner and provide quantitative feedback. Such activities should lead to an increased understanding of the course materials.


How will students use the information/knowledge gained in the course? Is the goal of the course to provide basic knowledge (introductory level course) or is it necessary for students to apply and use the information in other courses or a chosen career?

According to Bloom (1956), "cognitive learning is demonstrated by knowledge recall and the intellectual skills: comprehending information, organizing ideas, analyzing and synthesizing data, applying knowledge, choosing among alternatives in problem-solving, and evaluating ideas or actions". Bloom identified a hierarchy of six levels of cognitive learning:

  1. Knowledge (recall, least complex)
  2. Comprehension
  3. Application
  4. Analysis
  5. Synthesis
  6. Evaluation (most complex)

Examples, along with level(s) of Bloom's Taxonomy:

Assessment Techniques

Bloom’s Cognitive Level Reached

Exams & Quizzes:
Multiple Choice
Fill in

Knowledge, Comprehension, Application


Knowledge, Comprehension, Application

Problem Solving

Knowledge, Comprehension, Application

Case Studies

Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation


Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation

Research Reports

Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation


Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation

Note: The level of cognitive learning reached is dependent upon the type of activitie(s) assigned. Activities must be designed in order to achieve the desired level of cognitive learning. In other words,using a multiple choice questions will not guarantee that all levels will be reached, the questions used must be designed to assess each of the different possible levels of cognitive learning.

1.4.3 The content of course evaluation should closely link to the course objectives for the purpose of course improvement.


A. Continuous assessments provide feedback during the term. The instructor or the designer can use this feedback to correct design problems as the course progresses.

B. Any necessary revisions should be made as soon as possible after course completion, while the experience is still fresh.

  • Use rubrics based on course objectives to guide assessment activities. Rubric example

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