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In an online course, student orientation plays an important role in assisting students to get familiar the entire online environment.  Through student orientation, students have a great opportunity to know the overview of online learning, navigation of online course, and tips being successful in the online environment. We already have a blog post to talk about the design of student orientation. Student orientation quiz should be a part of student orientation activity and work as a pre-assessment to evaluate their readiness for online course. I am currently working with the Civic Educator Program in the Department of Political Science to design and develop two online courses for fall, 2016. Let’s use the student orientation quiz in the Civic Educator Program as an example here.

Before designing student orientation quiz, we just finish developing student orientation video introducing overview of online learning, navigation of iCollege (formerly BrightSpace), and ways to make students successful in the online course. In the following three sections, I will briefly talk about how we design the student orientation quiz. A couple of quiz items will be also shared.

Overview of Online Learning

In the student orientation video, we briefly introduce the nature of online learning including the four components to form online course: 1) environment, 2) communication, 3) assignments, and 4) resources. These four components also delineate their effects bringing to students in a virtual learning environment.

When we start designing quiz items for this section, we do not simply clarify students’ misconception about online course such as “Is it correct that students in online courses may use multiple tools to complete course works?”.  We also include some quiz items to identify student prior online learning experiences. So we include open-ended questions (see example 1). This can also serve as a good way for instructors to quickly know how students perceive online course.

Example 1: What is your perception about online courses if you ever take them before? If you never take any online course, what is your impression about online courses?

Navigation of Online Learning

In this section, we start introducing iCollege including its interface, tools (e.g., content delivery, communication, assessment), and ways to navigate courses.

For this section, we mainly create multiple-choice items to evaluate students’ familiarity with iCollege. For example, a quiz item in example 2 asks which tool is NOT used in this online course. Basically students have to fully navigate the entire course in iCollege to answer similar questions.

Example 2: Which tool is NOT used in this online course?

  1. Dropbox
  2. VoiceThread
  3. Calendar
  4. Discussion Board

Ways to Make Students Successful in an Online Course

In the student orientation video, instructors can introduce course syllabus, tips to help students be successful in online environment, and some learning strategies to help students learn how to learn (e.g., time management, progress monitoring). We include four components in this section: 1) communication, 2) content delivery, 3) performance evaluation, and 4) course content.

Using “Elements of Research Design” as an example, we have items about the use of statistical software, STATA (see example 3) as well as course contents (see example 4).

Example 3: Which statement is NOT correct about STATA?

  1. The book “An STATA Companion to Political Analysis” is recommended to students.
  2. Only 6-month license is available for students to purchase.
  3. STATA allows users to download the pdf. output.
  4. STATA can be installed either in Windows or Mac.

Example 4: What are NOT the tasks in the first week of course?

  1. Orientation Quiz
  2. CITI Online Training Report
  3. Self-introduction Video
  4. 200-word comment of reading

After setting up all quiz items, don’t forget to invite your TAs or former students to test these items in order to confirm its flow and accuracy. In addition, we also provide unlimited attempts for students to redo student orientation quiz. So students can do the scavenger hunt for the entire course when they have no idea about quiz items. This is also our purpose to help student quickly be familiar with the online environment, instead of simply evaluating their performance in this pre-assessment. Are you thinking to create a pre-assessment for your online course? Don’t hesitate to contact Sharon ( ) for more conversations.