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Online Courses Vs On Campus Courses

Updated on August 26, 2013

Assessments Online vs. On Campus

Online assessment refers to the procedure utilized to evaluate specific parts of data for a specific objective where the evaluation is done through a computer linked to different systems. Immediate results and comprehensive feedback are some of the typical advantages connected to this type of assessment. On the other hand, in on campus assessments, pupils take the exams in the classroom and discuss face to face with their teachers whatever the results of the assessments would be.


1. Emphasis on the students learning and improvement

The premise of both online and on-campus assessments is for the students to keep on learning and improve. In spite of the evident difference in the method of interaction between the student and the teacher, both types of assessment in the end will be able to provide all the information that the students will need to be able to improve steadily. It would look like the subjects being taught at online and on campus learning setups are completely distinct. The reality, though, is that the lessons and subjects being taught in both learning setups have plenty of similarities.

This is the reason why online and on-campus assessments are frequently based on lessons that are derived from assignments and teaching methods that are applied on both types of learning setups. Both online and on-campus assessments can have similar quizzes and exams about the subjects taught within a specific period. What is clear though, is that both online and on-campus assessments will have clear results, and these results once effectively discussed to the students will help them improve their learning by leaps and bounds.

Differences between Online and On-campus assessments

On-campus assessments use more of a holistic, class-wide approach in testing the level of learning of the students. The lessons are usually made generalized for all students regardless of their learning capabilities. Just the same, the assessments are also generalized exams that do not really take into consideration so much on the individual learning needs of the students. This is the reason why the results of the on-campus assessments reflect more on the strengths and weaknesses of the whole class.

Online assessments, on the other hand, are strictly between the teacher and the student. The teacher and the student are able to establish a stronger, more individualized learning relationship, which means that both of them get to know each other much better as compared to the on campus setup. This means that the teacher is able to also create more specific tests, exams and quizzes that will help determine the level of learning of the student.

2. Just in time vs. Just in need assessment strategy

On-campus assessments use a just in time approach, which implies that teachers use a reactive approach in the process of making assessments. On-campus assessments usually follow strict, general guidelines being enforced by the school that are implemented within a specific timeframe or in a periodic manner. These assessments do not really get adjusted depending on the learning capabilities and skills of the students. What is more important is for the on-campus assessments to be implemented according to schedule.

On the other hand, online assessments are created based on the specific learning needs of the students. The teachers have the freedom to adjust the level of difficulty of the online assessments depending on the level of learning of the students. Unlike the on-campus assessments that are fixed and strictly structured, online assessments are usually more versatile and flexible, being able to adjust to the learning needs of the students. The teacher has the prerogative of adjusting the formats and structures of the online assessments.

3. Emphasis on methods vs. strategy

On-campus assessments are based more on methods to execute the assessments. These may include exams, quizzes, internship or portfolios. The primary consideration of on campus assessments is to execute a variety of assessment methods that will test the learning levels and improvements among students. Through the use of an assortment of direct assessment methods, the students are expected to get tested not only through written evaluations but also on activities that would require them to practice what they learned in the classroom.

On the other hand, online assessments focus more on the right strategy of executing them to be able to bring out the necessary results. Because online assessments are more individualized, the teachers emphasize more on the purpose or the target of doing the online assessments and do not really think so much about the methods that will be used. This is the reason why online assessments are more student friendly than on campus assessments.

Peer and public reviews of assessments

In on campus environments, assessment are solely dependent on the teacher or instructor assigned, and it is always possible that there is bias on the review according to the preferences of the teacher. Experts have discovered that assessments in on-campus environments generate feedback from the instructors that frequently concentrate on mistakes made by the students. Peers, however, have been proven to provide very detailed and in depth feedbacks instead of just pointing out the mistakes. Peer reviews in on campus environments have also been discovered to be beneficial to students who offer feedbacks, guiding them to improve their logic and decisiveness and being able to criticize their individual outputs.

In online environments, on the other hand, the pupils usually provide one another with positive or negative criticisms through online posts. These feedbacks are typically short but concise. However, there is always a tendency that the feedbacks and criticisms being given are already being duplicated. This is because students might get bored about thinking of new feedbacks to give that they would just choose the short route and keep repeating their previous criticisms.

It is important to remember that the purpose of educational assessments is to check the level of learning of the students. It has been proven that both online and on-campus assessments can be effective in determining the level of improvement among students. Thus, the responsibility is on the part of the teachers to be able to make both educational assessments successful and very productive. Teachers will have to shoulder the responsibility of making the learning and assessment process organized, challenging yet still very exciting and enjoyable for the students.

Another responsibility that falls on the teachers is the process of giving feedback once the results of the assessments are obtained. Teachers need to approach this process in a mild and detailed manner, avoiding the use of too much criticism or emphasizing more on the mistakes and weaknesses of the students. It is always advisable for the teachers to highlight more on the strong points of the students while carefully mentioning certain areas of improvement for the students.

Once the purpose of the educational assessment is clearly established and the feedbacks are correctly given by the teachers to the students, it will not really matter so much whether an online or on-campus assessment is being used. Following the two basic guidelines of implementing assessments will ensure that students will experience significant improvements.

Both online and on-campus assessments emphasize on the importance of giving feedback once the results of the assessments have been generated. Regardless of whether the student achieved excellent or poor scores, the teachers would have to give their feedbacks to give an idea to the student his or her areas of improvement and strengths. The method of giving feedback may be different, but it is the content or the message of the feedback that will determine whether the student will get to experience improvements or not.


Submit a Comment

  • Man from Modesto profile image

    Man from Modesto 

    6 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

    This is a very good article. I have also written several articles on online schools. I take a different angle in my hub "Online Degree vs Traditional Degree".

    I show and support the fact that online bachelor's degree holders perform better in the work place. I use data from UOPX and other sources. I also show how polls used to compare the two BA paths in the past have been biased.

  • bdouble28 profile image


    7 years ago

    It's very important for students to understand the different standards and policies they're being held to.

  • cmellon86 profile image


    7 years ago

    I've been considering online education since I can no longer drive alone.

  • agent007 profile image


    7 years ago from Florida

    This is an excellent hub, thank you for listing the differences in both!

  • adrienne2 profile imageAUTHOR

    Adrienne F Manson 

    7 years ago from Atlanta

    That is so true online learning does require alot of self-motivation, and effort.

  • ecamper23 profile image


    7 years ago

    I find that distance learning requires way more effort. There's no hand holding and it relies more on yourself.

  • marilnelanoon233 profile image


    7 years ago

    I think people nowadays are opening up to distance learning as an educational option. And with gas prices up and the economy in such a bad shape, it's a good path to look at.

  • BobbiRant profile image


    8 years ago from New York

    I have a Master's from University of Phoenix online and I loved the courses and I was able to work full time while taking the courses and my ebooks were much cheaper too. I think it is great for working adults.

  • adrienne2 profile imageAUTHOR

    Adrienne F Manson 

    8 years ago from Atlanta

    Thanks pmccray.

  • pmccray profile image


    8 years ago from Utah

    I have been thinking of taking a course online. I've successfully taken exams for licensing in my state. The experience was very comfortable and I was able to study on my time. Thanks for adding more data for my research, this hub was very informative. Voted up, marked useful, bookmarked and shared.


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