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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.
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.
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