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Merriam-Webster defines an affordance as “the qualities or properties of an object that define its possible uses or make clear how it can or should be used”. If we apply this definition to the medium in which we teach, how do the affordances of the online environment expand or limit what we can do as language teachers? And how about the physical environment? Are there ways in which face-to-face teaching is superior to the online medium? And if we think more specifically about assessment, what affordances of the online medium can we take advantage of in order to incorporate formative and summative assessment of all skills in an online language course? Are there assessment formats that lend themselves best to an online course?  

This brief column published in the Modern Language Journal mentions some challenges for assessment in an online language course, but it also discusses the many opportunities that the online medium creates if we want to engage in systematic assessment that becomes an integral component of our teaching that is indistinguishable from teaching itself.  

This is a case study that illustrates some of the points that we have talked about in this webinar. It describes how to use VoiceThread as a teaching tool and, particularly, as a form of authentic assessment:  

Some useful resources when designing assessments for an online course:  

- This page explains how to create a quiz using Google forms; an easy way to measure comprehension in the interpretive mode :  

  - For interpersonal communication, here is how to create a Hangout on Air:  

- In addition to the usual ones (Power Point, YouTube), these are some tools that are useful to assess the presentational mode online:


And here is a wiki that explains how to use VoiceThread to assess the presentational mode: