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Setting test availability and deploying the test


Blackboard 9.x Essential Training for Instructors

with Patrick Crispen

Video: Setting test availability and deploying the test

So over the last several movies we've worked on creating a test in Blackboard. You can actually see the test by going to Test, Surveys and Pools, clicking on Tests, and then to the right of Practice Test clicking and choosing Edit. So we've created a blank test. We set its questions settings by clicking the Question Settings up here. We created five questions. Four of them are going to have point values. One of them isn't going to have any points at all. Three of them are going to be automatically graded by Blackboard. The essay question we're going to have to grade by hand.
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  1. 7m 51s
    1. Welcome
      1m 9s
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. What is an LMS?
      4m 15s
    4. Understanding Blackboard 9.X versions and campus customizations
      1m 52s
  2. 28m 38s
    1. The new graphical user interface
      5m 53s
    2. Exploring course-to-course navigation
      2m 20s
    3. Using course themes
      2m 15s
    4. Looking at course structures and the Quick Setup Guide
      6m 56s
    5. Using new and improved assessments
      7m 24s
    6. Looking at temporary obstacles and workarounds
      2m 36s
    7. Finding more Blackboard information
      1m 14s
  3. 26m 27s
    1. Logging in to Blackboard
      2m 9s
    2. Accessing your course and uploading files
      5m 40s
    3. Creating announcements
      4m 15s
    4. Sending emails
      4m 57s
    5. Viewing your roster
      3m 50s
    6. Downloading the Grade Center
      3m 17s
    7. Setting course availability
      2m 19s
  4. 14m 8s
    1. Understanding the tabs and sub-tabs
      5m 51s
    2. Working with modules
      3m 24s
    3. Personalizing the My Institution page
      1m 40s
    4. Editing the My Courses module
      3m 13s
  5. 12m 38s
    1. Understanding the course layout and breadcrumbs
      5m 13s
    2. Toggling the Edit Mode
      1m 26s
    3. Hiding and unhiding the Course Menu
      1m 9s
    4. Touring the Control Panel
      4m 50s
  6. 23m 53s
    1. Renaming, reorganizing, and deleting
      4m 58s
    2. Adding new menu items
      6m 4s
    3. Managing tools
      3m 40s
    4. Customizing a course
      9m 11s
  7. 16m 15s
    1. Viewing the course roster
      4m 54s
    2. Enrolling students and others
      7m 31s
    3. Why not to unenroll
      3m 50s
  8. 53m 34s
    1. Organizing content into folders
      5m 24s
    2. Uploading files
      11m 49s
    3. Using the Text Editor
      6m 19s
    4. Inserting a multimedia file
      9m 56s
    5. Linking to an external web resource
      4m 25s
    6. Linking to an internal course file
      6m 3s
    7. Making content available to students
      2m 2s
    8. Using the Content Collection
      3m 35s
    9. Copying and moving content
      4m 1s
  9. 24m 24s
    1. Exploring how students view course grades
      4m 1s
    2. Optimizing the Grade Center
      1m 36s
    3. Changing the default letter grading schema
      4m 24s
    4. Creating score columns
      6m 37s
    5. Entering grades
      5m 19s
    6. Viewing grade histories
      2m 27s
  10. 56m 19s
    1. Creating text columns
      3m 1s
    2. Managing columns
      4m 52s
    3. Creating grading periods
      5m 34s
    4. Creating categories
      5m 42s
    5. Dropping scores in the Grade Center
      9m 3s
    6. Weighting grades in the Grade Center
      6m 4s
    7. Downloading grades and editing in Excel
      7m 51s
    8. Uploading student grades
      4m 29s
    9. Changing grades
      3m 37s
    10. Changing a final grade
      6m 6s
  11. 16m 26s
    1. Creating assignments
      6m 22s
    2. Downloading assignments
      5m 16s
    3. Grading assignments
      4m 48s
  12. 37m 51s
    1. Best practices for using online assessments
      4m 21s
    2. Creating an empty test and choosing the Question Settings
      5m 29s
    3. Creating multiple choice questions
      7m 57s
    4. Creating true/false questions
      2m 48s
    5. Creating essay or short answer questions
      4m 5s
    6. Creating fill-in-the-blanks questions
      3m 39s
    7. Creating opinion scale/Likert questions
      5m 51s
    8. Reusing questions
      3m 41s
  13. 30m 27s
    1. Setting test availability and deploying the test
      13m 13s
    2. Assisting students with common testing obstacles
      8m 16s
    3. Viewing the student results
      6m 40s
    4. Reviewing the differences between surveys and tests
      2m 18s
  14. 16m 43s
    1. Sending emails
      6m 20s
    2. Creating announcements
      7m 14s
    3. Using the Course Calendar
      3m 9s
  15. 33m 15s
    1. Creating discussion forums and threads
      13m 1s
    2. Facilitating discussions
      9m 32s
    3. Moderating forums
      3m 36s
    4. Rating posts
      2m 47s
    5. Grading discussions
      4m 19s
  16. 9m 1s
    1. Creating groups
      7m 56s
    2. Adding members to groups
      1m 5s
  17. 4m 32s
    1. Next steps
      4m 32s

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Watch the Online Video Course Blackboard 9.x Essential Training for Instructors
6h 52m Beginner Jun 30, 2011 Updated Oct 09, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, Patrick Crispen teaches the ins and outs of Blackboard 9 so that educators and trainers can get up to speed in the system quickly—even if they've never used Blackboard before. The course explores customizing a course site, managing users, and adding and organizing content, including multimedia. It also shows how to perform student assessments in the Grade Center, as well as how to communicate with students and encourage participation and collaboration.

Topics include:
  • Accessing a course
  • Creating announcements
  • Viewing the roster
  • Working with modules
  • Adding new menu items
  • Enrolling students and others
  • Making content available to students
  • Entering grades
  • Downloading and editing grades in Excel
  • Creating assignments and collecting papers
  • Creating online tests
  • Adding discussion forums and groups
Education + Elearning
Patrick Crispen

Setting test availability and deploying the test

So over the last several movies we've worked on creating a test in Blackboard. You can actually see the test by going to Test, Surveys and Pools, clicking on Tests, and then to the right of Practice Test clicking and choosing Edit. So we've created a blank test. We set its questions settings by clicking the Question Settings up here. We created five questions. Four of them are going to have point values. One of them isn't going to have any points at all. Three of them are going to be automatically graded by Blackboard. The essay question we're going to have to grade by hand.

Now before we deploy this test, we need to make sure that all of the questions are correct. There are no typos, no confusing questions. You do not want to edit a test after it has been deployed and taken by your students. What ends up happening is the grades then could be wrong. In fact, any changes other than textual changes to an existing test will invalidate those test attempts and could actually corrupt the entire test and its Grade Center entries.

So make sure your test is done, it's ready to go. Once you've gotten the test, we've created the test, we've got the questions, we're now ready to deploy it. I'm going to go back to my Assignments folder. Again, it's always a good idea to separate your course documents from your tests and assignments. I'm going to click on Create Assessment and then I'm going to click on Test. Now we've been here before, but the last time we had to create a test.

Notice here our Practice Test is sitting there waiting for us. If you don't see your Practice Test, that means you haven't saved it and you're going to need to go and create it. Go back to the earlier movies and kind of watch those again. In this case we've got our practice test. We're ready to deploy it. I'm going to click on Submit and now I'm ready to deploy the test. Now I'm going to scroll down and it's going to show me okay, well, here is the name of the test and the description and now it's going to do I want to open this test in a new qindow? I have a choice Yes or No. It's up to you.

My recommendation is to say No. If the students have a pop-up blocker and you say open the test in a new window, you run the risk that the students are going to accidentally keep your test from opening up and therefore they won't be able to take it. Now I'm going to scroll down here and under Test Availability my favorite question in the entire program, Make the Link Available. That's not what they're asking. Make the Link Available is saying, will students ever be able to take this test? Not do you want to make it available now, but do you ever want to make it available? Well, yeah, that's why I created it.

Remember we don't have to have it show up right now. I can go into the Display After and Display Until and hide it until a certain date and time. But if I have Make the Link Available set to No, students will never ever be able to take this test. Add a new announcement for the test? Yes, I strongly, strongly recommend this. I'm going to show you a reason in a later movie, but this is actually going to be very helpful so the students are going to know that the test is available, when it becomes available.

And if the students have accidentally hidden the course menu, they get into your course homepage, they will still see the announcement and they will still be able to get to the test. And now I'm going to scroll down and I'm going to show you where most faculty get into trouble. Most faculty say,"Multiple attempts? Absolutely not. I'm not going to let my students take this test over and over again. That's a terrible idea." Actually no, it's a good idea. It turns out that if a student is taking a test and they get locked out, you want them to be able to get back in to the test.

This one is up to you. My recommendation allow the students to take the test as many as two times. This just make sure that if the student has some sort of connection problem, they're not going to be locked out. They can always get back. And as I said earlier you've got to treat Blackboard tests as take-home exams. You don't want to make this high stakes because you can't guarantee that the students aren't going to be cheating. Use this as a practice and in this case, Number of Attempts 2 is fine.

Unlimited number of attempts is also a great idea if it truly is a practice. If the students were taking a test over and over again, they are learning. Now here is where faculty absolutely get into trouble. Force Completion. Force Completion sounds like this great idea. It says once a student starts, the student must complete the test in one sitting. If they leave, if they drop, then it's not going to work.

They have to go Save and Submit. Boy, that just sounds compelling. Here's a problem. Imagine that this is checked. I'm connected and all of a sudden there's a power surge. All of a sudden somebody with a backhoe digs up my Internet connection. All the sudden I bump the power cord on my computer. I'm going to be locked out of the test, and I guarantee it's going to happen more often than you could possibly imagine. As someone who supported Blackboard for 10 years, the number one complaint I get when faculty are saying "my students are having problems with test" is because they've checked Force Completion.

This sounds like a great idea. Please, please, please don't check Force Completion. What I recommend you do is set a timer instead. Force Completion says the students must complete it in one sitting, but if you want to force the students to complete the test, set the timer. The timer is going to say once you start this test, you have one hour to complete it. If your Internet connection drops during that hour, congratulations, you can come back. However, at the one hour mark after you started the test, I'm going to count this as late.

Now the bad thing is that Set Timer doesn't actually yank the test from the students when the timer expires. A student could technically go beyond the one-hour limit. What happens is Blackboard then just says I'm not going to grade this. You'll see an exclamation mark in the grade book showing you need to manually grade it. Blackboard won't manually grade anything that's turned on late. So you can allow multiple attempts if you want or you can set the timer. It's completely up to you.

My recommendation is because it's going to be a low-stakes test, I'm going to allow my students to take it over and over again. This isn't a high-stakes test. I want the students to be able to learn. That's fine. I do not recommend Force Completion. Set Timer is optional, if you want to have the students have a certain amount of time. Again, it's not going to yank the test away from them. I can now choose when the students can start taking the test and when the students can stop taking a test. Very strongly recommend, always keep these paired.

If you have a Display After, have a Display Until. Some versions of Blackboard had problems when you set up announcements that had a Display Until date or Display After date and they weren't paired. That's why I've been saying always pair these things. So I'm going to allow my students to start taking this test, well, today. I'll actually make it as of noon today. That's okay that it is past noon. That's fine. And I'm going to have this test show up until next Thursday.

I'll have it at the end of the day. Remember we talked earlier, don't choose midnight. A lot of people get confused is what midnight is, is at the beginning of the day or the end of the day. I also wouldn't choose End of the Day. In this case I'll choose 11:30 PM and I'll actually change it to 11:59 PM. I can type there. I can have the students type in a password to get into this test. It seems like a good idea. That's better if you're in a proctored lab environment.

The reality is your students are going to forget that password and you're going to get a lot of people who yell at you saying "I can't get in." The Due Date really is only going to be helpful if you allow students to submit late papers, in which case you don't do the Display After and Display Until. You do the Due Date. So those are the settings so far. Let's keep going. The Self-assessment Options. The first question here is, does this count? Well, yeah, I'm giving this a test. This matters.

This is a test I want my students to get a grade for. May not be a very high grade, may not matter that much. I mean I can't guarantee the students aren't cheating, so I'm going to include it, but I'm not going to give it that much of a weight. So yeah, I'll include it in the Grade Center score calculations. One thing I could do though is I could actually make this an anonymous assessment. I can uncheck this test and click in this, basically saying it's going to be a manually graded test and the questions will never be graded because the test is a self-test.

What you're doing is you're creating a test that students have to grade on their own, and you're kind of giving the students the opportunity to practice on their own and you never even see the answers. You never even see the questions. My recommendation, if you want to do that-- eh, it's up to you. I kind of like making test that count but not for a lot. Now when the students submit their test, they are going to get feedback from Blackboard and you have the option of what the students are going to see when they submit the test.

They can see their score and/or they can see submitted answers, in other words, what their answer were. You can tell them the correct answer if you want to, and you can choose whether or not to give feedback. Remember when we were creating those questions we had those boxes where correct feedback, incorrect feedback, those are only going to show up if I choose Feedback here. If not, all that time I spent creating the feedback is not going to be very helpful. So I can choose any or all of these.

In this case I'll choose them all. And then finally we get down to the end and I get to say okay, the Presentation Mode. Do I want all the questions to show up on the same page? Do I want to do it one at a time? It really depends on the number of questions you have. If you've 10, 20 questions, All at once is fine. If you've 50 or 100 questions, do One at a time. The reason why is anything longer than 10 or 20 questions is just going to take a long time.

I've also heard from Blackboard, now this is a while ago, but some engineers at Blackboard actually recommended that One at a time actually causes less load on the Blackboard server than all at once. I'm not quite sure why that's true but it's an engineer I actually trust who said that. So if you're concerned about connections and everything, One at a time might be a good idea. Prohibit Backtracking basically says the students if they're doing one at a time are going to be able to answer the first question, then they go to the second question, but they can't go back to the first question.

If you've taken computer graded tests, like the Graduate Record Exam, they do that. They prohibit backtracking. I'm going to do it All at once in this case. Final thing is I can choose right now to randomize the questions. That's actually one sort of okay way to cut down on student cheating where somebody says, "Hey, what's the answer to question number one," if question number one is different for everybody. So we've now set the settings for our test. We've basically said we're going to create the test.

It's now going to be available. I could say that I don't want it to show up until next week. That's perfectly fine, but I do want my students to be able to take the test. Absolutely want to put up an announcement. I'm going to allow students to have unlimited attempts on this one. I'm going to set a timer though. The students do have an hour to complete it. I'm going to do Display After and Display Until,.I'm not going to do the Due Date. I'm going to include it. I'm going to give the students all the feedback they can get. Presentation Mode All at Once, and I'm going to randomize the questions.

And when I click on Submit I have now deployed my test. To see what this test looks like from a student's point of view, if I turn Edit mode off in the Assignments folder, there is the link to my test. And we'll talk more about that in the next movie.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Blackboard 9.x Essential Training for Instructors .

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Q: This course was updated on 10/09/2012. What changed?
A: This update adds 7 new movies in the "What's New in Blackboard 9.x SP8 and SP9," on topics such as course themes, new and improved assessments, and other new features found in service packs 8 and 9.
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