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So far on our Test Canvas, we've created two questions. We've created a multiple choice question and we've created a true/false question. Don't worry that they don't line up. They'll actually look better when we display them for the students. The great thing about the Multiple Choice and True/False question types is that they're automatically graded by Blackboard. There's one correct answer. Blackboard knows the answer. So now that we've set this up there's nothing for us to do. When we deploy the test, Blackboard will automatically grade the student's answers. That's great, but what if we want the students to be a little more reflective? We don't want them to just click on the correct answer.
we want them to actually do a little bit of thinking and reflection. Well, Blackboard has an Essay question tool. The Essay question tool, unlike True/ False, unlike Multiple Choice, is not going to be graded by Blackboard. You are going to have to grade these by hand. So it's kind of like the Assignment tool, but it's an Assignment tool within tests. The students aren't going to be attaching a file. They're going to be typing in a text box. So in this case, I'm going to type in Activity as the question title and I'm going to use a question text.
We've got a bunch of text that I've already written here. I'm just going to copy and paste this. If you don't access to the Exercise Files, no worries. You can go and type whatever you want here. So I'm going to type this question, make sure there's no extra spacing around it. So simply we're going to ask them, hey, give me a classroom activity that would enable students to construct meaning from instructional messages including oral, written, and graphic communication. I'm going to scroll down and there's this box here that says Answer. It sort of gives me the idea that Blackboard is going to grade it if I typed the correct answer here, but no, don't type the correct answer here.
This is where you give your students an exemplar of what you think they should be writing. This is in case you need to give the students a nudge in the right direction and you don't want to include it in the question text. You can give an example of a great writing sample here. Usually, I leave that blank. So again, we've created a question. We're not going to type an answer, unless we want to give it as an exemplar for the students. We don't want to give them the answer to this.
And remember Blackboard isn't going to be grading this automatically, even though there's an answer box here. We still have to manually grade the essays that the students write. I am going to click on Submit. Now, I want to show you something. I showed you the Essay tool, which now shows up at the bottom of our test. We can actually rearrange that by clicking the up and down arrow. We can edit it by clicking on the button with the two downward facing chevrons. I want to show you one other type of Essay question. I kind of prefer the Essay question over this one, but it's completely up to you if you want to do.
It's called Short Answer. I'm going to scroll down. You are going to notice here that Short Answer has a Question Title. It has a Question Text. The only thing that's different is it's going to say "Okay well, I'm going to give the students a box into which they can answer the question. How many rows do you want that box to be?" The Essay question is going to be about six lines I think. This is only going to be three or as many as I want and that's really the only difference between the two.
The reason why I like the Essay tool more than I like the Short Answer tool is actually based on some research I saw and I'm not sure it can apply here. But there's research when it comes to skeletal notes and skeletal outlines which says the more wide space you give students, the more they think they have to write down. And I kind of believe that if you give the students a test and you give them a lot of white space, they're going to try to write and fill that space, which is one of the reasons why I like the Essay activity.
It just gives you a bigger amount of space in which the students can write. So that's three down, two to go.
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