How can I assess learning?

Assignments (myCourses)

The Assignments tool allows you to create folders where students can upload documents, pictures, or any other files that they must submit to you for your course. You can download and/or grade your students’ electronic submissions from these folders, eliminating the need for paper submissions and printer cards. You can use the Assignments tool within a course to:

  • Create assignment folders for individual student or group submissions.
  • Attach files to existing assignment folders.
  • Set release dates, due dates, and special access permissions for an assignment.
  • Track student submission times.
  • View student submissions using the document viewer.
  • Enter grades and feedback for students’ submissions online.
  • Download all students’ submissions to a .zip file for offline grading.
  • Attach marked up documents and record audio feedback.
  • Bulk upload feedback files for all students simultaneously.
  • Associate a Grade Item to the assignment, so that the grades and feedback in the assignment can be published to a column in the Grades tool.

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Quizzes, Surveys and Self-Assessments (myCourses)

Quizzes, Surveys and Self-Assessment tools are assessment tools within myCourses that share many similarities. For example, many of the same set-up options and types of questions can be used in all three tools and questions can be shared between them.

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Rubrics (myCourses)

You can create two different types of Rubrics:

  • Analytic Rubrics allow you to evaluate students on multiple criteria and give them an Overall Score based on the sum of levels they achieved for each criteria.
  • Holistic Rubrics allow you evaluate students' overall achievement on a single criterion.

For either type of rubric, you can choose to evaluate students using a numeric or text-based Scoring Method.

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Competencies (myCourses)

Competencies help track information about the knowledge, skills and abilities learners acquire as they participate in courses or other learning experiences. Competencies are an inventory of skills and knowledge, rather than measures of how good learners are at something. Other vocabulary used to describe competencies can include “proficiencies,” “learning outcomes,” “standards,” “objectives,” and “skills.” – D2L

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CATME is an online teamwork learning and team management system. It consists of web-based tools that allow an instructor to assign students to teams (based on a variety of adjustable criteria) and allows for students to rate themselves and rate team members’ contributions to group projects.

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How can I make assessment collaborative?


Collaborative grading software improves efficiency for instructors and teaching assistants while evaluating assessments by allowing multiple users to access and provide feedback simultaneously.

Crowdmark is a collaborative online grading tool and analytics platform. It allows for multiple graders to blind-grade class assessments online, at a distance and at different times, and allows for grading feedback to be sent to students. It also offers the instructor analytics about the grades, question scores, and grading time. This video summarizes how Crowdmark works. Take a look at some of the insights in the Crowdmark Poster from the Faculty of Science instructors.

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Peergrade is a technology platform that facilitates the logistics of peer assessment, including document submission, peer review of student work, and feedback on the quality of reviews. Peergrade has an integration with myCourses. Check out this blog post for an instructor’s experience using a similar peer assessment tool.

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How can I make assessment more interactive?

Video Assignments

TLS is currently piloting Video Assignments by Bongo. This tool allows students to record short videos using their webcam. The instructor is able to leave time-stamped feedback on student submissions. Video Assignments are integrated with myCourses. 

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Polling @ McGill

Polling (also known as the Student Response System (SRS)) is a technology-supported questioning strategy that allows instructors to ask questions and collect and display student responses in real time, enabling interaction and feedback, even in large class environments. Web-based response systems allow students to respond to questions in-class using a mobile device (smartphone, tablet, laptop).

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  • Learn more about the impact of clickers on student learning experiences from 2007-2011.
  • Academic resources about clickers/polling and student engagement:
    • D. Bruff (2008). Classroom Response System ("Clickers") Bibliography, Vanderbilt Center for Teaching.
    • M. K. Smith, W. B. Wood, W. K. Adams, C. Wieman, J. K. Knight, N. Guild, and T. T. Su. (Jan 2009). Why Peer Discussion Improves Student Performance on In-Class Concept Questions. Science 2, 323. pp.122-124.
  • Other Teaching Resources compiled by Teaching and Learning Services
  • www.mcgill.ca/polling


Distributed Active Learning Integrated Technology Environment —myDALITE— is a free open-source web-based platform that promotes conceptual learning. Its pedagogical foundations are guided by social learning and based on learning principles and practical know-how. It engages students in cognitive tasks that include written self-explanation, comparison and evaluation of explanations produced by peers, and reflection.

With myDALITE, instructors can use the same questions in class in polling mode, or assign questions as out-of-class homework through any learning management system. Instructors can peruse content based on analytics and get reports for how their students are doing over time.

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How can I get feedback from students?

Microsoft Forms

A component of Office 365, Microsoft Forms can be used to easily create and distribute surveys. The summary of responses as well as individual results can be viewed and downloaded. Instructors can use MS Forms to create surveys for students in their courses or for anyone within and outside of McGill.

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Surveys (myCourses)

Surveys in myCourses work very similarly to Quizzes. However, you can make them anonymous, use Likert Questions, branch questions, and invite participants within your course.

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How do I promote integrity?

Respondus Lockdown Browser/Monitor

Respondus Lockdown Browser: Respondus Lockdown Browser locks a student in a quiz on myCourses. Students cannot navigate away from the quiz and are unable to open a browser window or access files on the computer.

Respondus Monitoring: Similar to Respondus Lockdown Browser but has the added feature that enables students to record themselves with a webcam during a non-proctored exam.

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Technologies Graphic

A visual representation of the available technologies, separated into four quadrants (interaction, content, assessment, and course management) and three rings (technologies within myCourses, technologies provided by McGill, and other technologies).


While this web page is accessible worldwide, McGill University is on land which has served and continues to serve as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. Teaching and Learning Services acknowledges and thanks the diverse Indigenous peoples whose footsteps mark this territory on which peoples of the world now gather. This land acknowledgement is shared as a starting point to provide context for further learning and action.

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