In the world of academia, the term ‘assessment’ usually carries a strong association with testing, grading and the kind of high-stakes evaluation that sets nerves on edge. And while these activities—known as summative assessment to educators and learning designers—may be necessary in higher education, they don’t often generate very positive or empowering experiences for either professors or students.

But Professor Burcu Karabina thinks about assessment differently. In 2016, she decided to introduce major changes to improve the student outcomes in her Math for Liberal Arts section at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). As math can cause anxiety for students who are starting out, she decided to focus on the power of quality assessments to strengthen the relationship between herself and her students.

As Math for Liberal Arts is a required course, Karabina initially used Top Hat Classroom to monitor attendance, but she quickly discovered there were many more ways she could use the software to leverage to increase student accountability and motivation.

Over the course of just a few semesters, Professor Karabina mastered the art of formative assessment, using Top Hat to collect live feedback from her class of 100, monitor their comprehension of key concepts and make adjustments to her teaching on the fly.

“Previously, they didn’t even know what they didn’t know,” Karabina explains of her students. “With immediate feedback, they’re now on top of their learning and they take more responsibility for it.”

Professor Karabina shares the story of how her experiment eventually led to a re-design of all eight sections of Math for Liberal Arts at FAU in How I Taught This, Top Hat’s interview series profiling professors who have moved the needle with technology.

Watch the interview below and hear some of Professor Karabina’s tips and best practices:

If you would like to learn more about how Top Hat can improve formative assessment and help you monitor comprehension in your class, quick and easy training modules are available for you to use at Top Hat University

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Jaclyn Travis

Jaclyn Travis

Jaclyn Travis is the director of the Top Scholars program, highlighting professors that are using Top Hat in innovative and effective ways.