Gauging student learning in an online environment

In this final FDOL blog post I will be reflecting upon my involvement in a group PBL task that required us to design a learning activity in which our class would participate. My group decided to design an online quiz using Kahoot around the subject of semiotics, an important topic within the proposed online module our first PBL presentation was based on. My reflections led me to consider two aspects of my current teaching practice; how I gauge my students’ understanding in an online environment and encouraging discussion within an active learning scenario that will lead to a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

With only a short video explaining the basics of semiotics preceding the task, there was some concern raised within our group as to whether participants would have developed enough of an understanding to undertake the quiz, so we were pleased the percentage of correct answers indicated there was a good level of understanding and it was enlightening for me to experience first hand the insight into student learning that student response systems (SRS) technology can provide. With having the intention of delivering more online content in my teaching it’s important that I have strategies for assessing my students’ understanding of topics in this environment; I often rely upon verbal questioning in my small group face-to-face teaching so the use of SRS quizzes provides a good alternative for online teaching (UKPSF A5, K4 & K5). Kearns’ (2012, para.28 ) study into student assessment in online learning highlighted quizzes as an effective method to “informally assess students’ understanding as well as supply feedback to help them correct misconceptions”; this adds a research-informed rationale for my plans to introduced this pedagogical approach (UKPSF A5 & V3 ).

My PBL group opted to use Kahoot as its features were able to adequately facilitate the task we had planned and it was familiar following a demonstration earlier in the semester. We were also introduced to ‘Socrative’ through its use during an FDOL lecture which I personally found to be a more versatile SRS as it also allows for students to post responses to questions that can subsequently be viewed by the rest of the class. This feature in particular has great potential to encourage discussion and active participation in online learning as Awedh, Mueen, Zafar and Manzoor’s (2014, p.23) investigation ascertained: “We conclude that Socrative improves students level of interactivity, which helps students to be active in class and have collaborative learning, which also increases student engagement in the learning process.”

I intend to start using Socrative to run quizzes that will allow me to judge students’ understanding of theoretical topics and also post questions that will encourage students to debate the ‘affective outcomes’ of their work that “seek to address the subjective dimensions of the musical experience…among the categories of affective outcomes are student relations (to the music, to each other or the world, to himself or herself) which build community and the composer’s craft” (Sindberg, 2012, Chapter 2, para. 18-19). Using Socrative’s question and response features in his way will help to build the relationships that Sindberg describes through evaluating musical performance and composition, this approach can be used in an online environment and also in the classroom using commonly available mobile technology (UKPSF A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, K1, K2, K4 & K5).


Awedh, M. Mueen, A. Zafar, B. Manzoor, U. (2014). Using Socrative and Smartphones for the support of collaborative learning. International Journal on Integrating Technology in Education, 3(4), 17-24. Retrieved from  

Higher Education Academy. (2011). The UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supported learning in higher education.

Kearns, L. R. (2012). Student Assessment in Online Learning: Challenges and Effective Practices. Journal of Online Teaching and Learning, 8(3). Retrieved from

Sindberg, L. k. (2012). Just Good Teaching: Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance (CMP) in Theory and Practice. Plymouth: Rowman & LittleField (Kindle reader version 4.15.1) Retrieved from













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