How can assessment be challenging in an online environment?
One of the benefits of teaching in a regular classroom is being able to sense when a lesson isn’t working, or that students need some sort of prompt in order to help them along with a particular task. This is something that would be absent in an online environment, at least in terms of something that can be addressed immediately.
Not seeing students every day is another factor that influences assessment. For example, a teacher can tell when a student is having an "off" day - perhaps he comes to class in a different mood than usual, or is displaying some other sort of body language that would indicate a change in mood. As such, you could be more lenient about how much that student contributes in class that day, you may decide that he needs more space than usual, or that he may benefit from you pulling him aside for a chat after class. That type of scenario would be absent from an online class.
How can an online learning environment support assessment for, as, and of learning?
1. Assessment for learning: this is when teachers provide feedback and coaching to students for improvement; give them chances to improve.
Example: A Skype call near the end of Module 1 in order to provide feedback, and to provide tips on the summative assignment for the Module.
2. Assessment as learning: this is more student-directed learning, whereby students develop their capacity to be independent, autonomous learners, set goals, etc.
Example: Students choose their best way to complete a character profile: written, podcast, video character portrayal (acting), visual art, etc.
3. Assessment of learning: this is the summary evaluation, may be used to form further assessment (the one you do the least)
Example: A summative assignment, such as the character profile given above.