Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Susan Jurow

Second Advisor

Ben Kirshner

Third Advisor

Michele Moses


Formative assessments are often used in face-to-face classroom settings to help foster learning. These dynamic assessments embody Vygotsky's view of learning in the zone of proximal development (ZPD). While research has shown the ways in which formative assessments can be used in traditional classrooms, less is known about the use of formative assessments in increasingly popular online learning settings for universities. Using what is known about formative assessments in face-to-face classrooms and a case study of an online college course, I investigated how formative assessments can be embedded into online learning settings. The findings indicate that formative assessments such as feedback and self-assessments can be implemented in online courses. However, the structure of online courses can present barriers to facilitating discussions among students, which is another form of formative assessment.