Classroom Assessment Techniques (CAT) in the Online Classroom

Concurrent Session 1

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Why wait until a unit exam to discover student understanding of course content?  You can use Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATS) to evaluate course delivery and teaching methods.  CATS are easy formative evaluation tools which allow you to assess student mastery before the big assignment or exam.  In this session you'll use Poll Everywhere (or any online polling tool) to test three simple CATs methods that you can implement with your learners immediately. 


Over 20 years in adult education and curriculum development. Online learning is my modality and I partner with e-learning developers to implement best practices in instructional design and educational pedagogy for teaching and learning.
I spent over 22 years in Early Childhood Education. About ten years into my career, I began designing and implementing training for Child Care Providers. I found I loved educating the very young and adults too. I have an AA in Early Childhood Education and decided to get my BS in Adult Education. As I got older and just the thought of getting up and down off the floor hundreds of times, a day wore me out so I switched to Higher Education. I then went on to earn a Masters degree in Instructional Technology. I am currently the Director of Distance Learning at the University of Nebraska, College of Public Health. I oversee our graduate school online programs, manage our learning management system (Blackboard), work with faculty on instructional design, facilitate over ten faculty development workshops based on technology in the classroom and online learning every year, designing MOOC's and so much more. I am also a courtesy professor at the School of Allied Health Professions at UNMC. I designed and teach Integrating Technology into Health Care Professions for the Master of Science in Health Professions Teaching and Technology.

Extended Abstract

Why wait until your end of semester student evaluations to discover how your students  about your online course materials and delivery? You can use Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) to gain a better understanding throughout your semester to evaluate your teaching methods and course delivery. In this session you'll use Poll Everywhere (or any online polling tool) to test three simple CATs methods that you can implement with your learners immediately.  

OLC Learning Outcomes:

  • Describe classroom assessment techniques
  • Give examples of classroom assessment techniques (CATs)
  • Recognize the importance of assessing the classroom
  • Discuss why assessing the classroom throughout the semester is important
  • Experience classroom assessment techniques (CATs) using Poll Everywhere

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are, typically, easy to prepare formative evaluation methods using low stakes activities conducted in the online or F2F classroom. Their purpose is to provide the instructor feedback on whether or not students understand course material so that adjustments can be made before the end of the term or before major assignments or exams. CATs also provide information about the effectiveness of your teaching methods and online presence. Frequent use of CATs also can assure students that the instructor takes a genuine, active interest in their learning process throughout the course, before the summative assessment (e.g., final exam) is given at the end of the term.

In this interactive BYOD  session, we will explore the usefulness of CATs in the online classroom. We will also learn how to implement them into course design, allowing instructors to receive feedback on instructional strategies and presence before the end of the semester.


Classroom Assessment Techniques. A Handbook for College Teachers by Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross, Second Edition, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers, 1993.