Evaluating Student Learning
We recognize that tests are one of the most common methods utilized for evaluating
student learning. Blackboard provides instructors with the ability to give exams for
both online and on-campus students fulfilling one of UND’s goals of offering more
educational opportunities online.
Blackboard offers a variety of testing options such as amount of time allowed for a test, multiple attempts, enabling a student to save and return to a test, different feedback settings after the test has been scored, and exemptions for students who need different testing options.
When creating test in Blackboard you can build questions directly in the Blackboard Test Canvas, or upload Word test files using Respondus conversion software. Uploading Word test files is a quick and efficient way to add common test question formats such as multiple-choice, true/false, matching, fill-in-the-blank, and short answer or essay questions.
Building questions directly in Blackboard offers formats such as:
- file-response questions for students to upload a file
- hot-spot questions for students to click on a specific area in an image as their answer
- jumbled-sentence type questions with drop-down menus of answer choices
Blackboard also offers advanced question “sets” which can be focused on a case study, scenario, image, or audio or video file. These sets can contain up to 10 related questions, and are useful in building pools of questions to be randomly selected for different students.
In addition to creating tests, Blackboard also has the option for creating pools. Instructors can use pools to create a bank of questions they can reuse in multiple tests. When building a test from a pool, instructors can select specific questions or categories to pull from. In her book Conquering the Content Robin M. Smith (2014), recommends having question alternatives for every competency being tested. “You can create question sets for each competency such that there are multiple question alternatives for each; thus you can give each person a different combination of questions for the test” (p. 85). One of the main benefits of pools and randomizing questions is that they can assist in preventing cheating as no two students have identical exams.
Setting Test Options
A variety of test option allow you to customize the testing experience for your students to meet your learning goals. Information on the various settings can be found on Blackboard’s Help Page.
Respondus is a powerful tool for creating and managing exams that can be printed to paper or published directly to Blackboard. Exams are created offline in Windows and then the software provides many time-saving tools such as equation editors, web links, and multimedia functions.
Blackboard also has a built in option to write questions offline in a text file and upload it into tests, surveys, and question pools.
After you upload the file, you can edit and use the questions exactly like the questions that you create inside your course.
Information on this feature can be found on Blackboard's Help Page.
These videos demonstrate how to install Respondus on your Windows computer and upload a Word test file.
Instead of creating a quiz question by question within Respondus, you may prefer to create the quiz using Word.
Create Word Document
This formatting guide will help you prepare your document for use with Respondus.
This sample Word document is formatted for Respondus. It contains multiple choice, true/false, multiple answer (Type: MA), fill-in-the-blank (Type: F), matching (Type: MT) and essay (Type: E) questions. Respondus can interpret these question types if you use proper formatting before you input the file.
Turn off Word Auto-format Feature
If you use Word’s auto-format feature to number your questions or answers, you will not be able to use the asterisk to mark the correct answer. This page explains how to turn off the auto-format feature in Word.
Strip Formatting from an Existing Word Document
Follow these steps to strip the formatting from an existing Word document.
This process allows you to use Respondus' features to create questions in a manner similar to creating them inside Blackboard.
All of the video tutorials below are within Hoonuit and will require you to login with your NDUS.Identifier and password.
To pull an exam out of Blackboard into Word for editing, follow these instructions.
Visit the Respondus 4.0 page for the following demonstrations:
- Creating and Formatting Questions with Respondus
- Using Publisher Test Banks with Respondus
- Importing Questions with Respondus
- Publishing to Blackboard
The video tutorials below are within Hoonuit by Atomic Learning and will require you to login with your NDUS.Identifier and password.
The majority of errors when working with Respondus occur because the user does not have the latest update installed. You can avoid these errors by keeping your software up to date.
- When you open the Respondus software, click on help in the menu, then click on Check for Updates.
- Keep updating until you see the message that you have the latest version.
- Download the latest update for Respondus "Campus Wide."
- Install the update.
You may receive a "Warning" after clicking to preview your file in Respondus.
A "duplicate question" warning can almost always be ignored. Respondus reads the first few words of each question to create a title for it, so if you have questions that begin the same, such as "Which of the following...," Respondus will flag these as duplicates. Ignoring this warning will not affect your test.
A "missing answer" or "unreadable" warning cannot be ignored. These indicate that there is a formatting issue in your document, or that you neglected to put an asterisk next to the correct answer for one of your questions. Review your document, fix the issue (or strip the formatting) and try again. The most common issues are:
- There is a heading or description in your test. Respondus cannot read these and they should be deleted.
- There is a table or chart in your test, bullets or numbering, or other formatting. Respondus cannot understand this and it should be stripped. You can add this information back into your question once it is in Blackboard.
- There is a missing 'return' (blank line) and Respondus cannot tell where a new question begins.
- There is a missing 'correct answer,' or too many answers are marked correct depending on question type.
- There is a missing period after the question number or answer choice indicator (ex: 3 Question, or b Example answer)
- There is a missing space between the answer choice indicator and the text (ex: a.Missing space.)
- There is an extra space between the asterick and the answer choice indicator (ex: * b. See the extra space)
- You have essay, short answer, or other question types than Multiple Choice or True/False, but they are not marked as such with the "Type:" code, so Respondus does not know how to handle it. (ex: Type: MA is multiple answer; Type: E is Essay). The Type code precedes the question number on a line by itself.
Respondus LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard. When students use Respondus LockDown Browser they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications. When an assessment is started, students are locked into it until they submit for grading. Compatible with Mac and Windows.
Instructors can use the following links to learn more about Respondus LockDown Browser and how they can start using this software now:
- Watch a Demo of the Product
- Download Instructional PDF
- Respondus Lockdown Browser download
- Respondus Lockdown Browser resources
Students can use the following link to learn to use this user-friendly software:
Proctored tests for students in online courses offer both a secure testing environment and flexibility in scheduling. UND’s partnership with ProctorU also allows students to take a test with a live proctor from anywhere using a webcam and Internet connection.
- Online Exam Proctoring Process - includes information on the proctoring process for students and proctors, such as the proctor policy, proctor designation steps, and proctoring options available to students.
- Setting up Proctored Exams in Blackboard - This article describes the process for setting up proctored exams in Blackboard and adding exam details to the UND Proctoring System, which automates the process of communicating exam details to accepted proctors.
Additional resources for setting up proctored exams in Blackboard can be found in the UND Faculty Resource Course in Blackboard under Blackboard > Assessing Student Learning > Blackboard Tests, Surveys & Pools.
Using Blackboard, for students to submit papers, provides an electronic copy of their work that you can grade online using the Inline Grading tool or download to grade offline. You can use Blackboard rubrics, provide written feedback or attach files if using a separate rubric or audio/video feedback. There are also several assignment options to support a number of attempts, group work, and plagiarism checking.
Settings of one, multiple or unlimited attempts are useful for drafts and final papers. See the Blackbord article for more information regarding Multiple Assignment Attempts.
Group submission allows one member of the group to submit the file for everyone. When you grade the work, the score and feedback are accessible to everyone in the group. This "group grading" feature saves grading time and ensures that students see the same feedback on their work. Changes to individual student's grades within that group can be easily adjusted, however, for differentiation of effort.
Note: If you add a member to a group after you assign a grade for a group assignment, the new member does not receive a grade, as they were not part of the process.
Audience response systems (clickers) allow students in the classroom to instantly provide feedback, answer questions, and vote. TurningPoint is the standard adopted by the University of North Dakota.
Students may respond by using a "clicker" (a handheld device that allows them to vote or make a selection by pressing a button), or by setting up TurningPoint mobile on a web-enabled device such as a cell phone, laptop or mobile device. For courses that are using TurningPoint, students must create an account and purchase a TurningPoint license code. The license code is required regardless of which device is used.
Using a clicker or audience response system can significantly change classroom interaction by enabling instructors to assess students' knowledge, keep their attention, provide immediate feedback, and encourage all students to participate.
- Review the Start-of-Semester Instructor Checklist
- Make sure a receiver is installed in the classroom that will be used. To check if
a receiver is installed or to request that one be installed, contact UIT Classroom
Services at 701.777.6325.
- Go to Turning Technologies and create an account using your @UND.edu email address. Note: Students must also use their @UND.edu email address when creating their account
in order for their grades to sync within Blackboard.
- Contact the UND Bookstore to let them know you will be using ResponseCards (Clickers) in your course, and let them know how many students are registered. Advise students to purchase a ResponseCard or to obtain the TurningPoint mobile program on a web-enabled device, if you wish to use that feature. Students will also need to purchase a license code to use with the ResponseCard or TurningPoint mobile.
Register a Turning Technologies Account through Blackboard.
Log into the Blackboard course you will use TurningPoint with.
Click Tools from the left menu.
Click Turning Technologies Registration Link.
Enter your school or organization email address and click Create.
Check your email and click the link to verify your Turning Technologies Account.
Enter all required fields as noted by the asterisks.
Enter and confirm your password in the fields provided.
Click Finish again.
Adding a Course from Blackboard
Sign into your Turning Technologies account. The TurningPoint Web dashboard will display.
Under Available Courses, click Connect on each course you want to sync to TurningPoint. The courses will move to Current Courses.
Through the Blackboard integration with Turning Technologies Account you can email participants to remind that they need to create an account, register a license or a device.
Sign in to your Turning Technologies Account. The TurningPoint Web instructor dashboard will display.
Locate the Course you wish to email students.
Click Email Students in the upper right hand corner.
- Select desired option(s).
- Click Send.
Updating Courses from TurningPoint Web
- Log into your Turning Technologies account. The TurningPoint Web instructor dashboard displays.
- Locate the Course to update.
- Click View.
- Click Update Course in the right hand corner.
- Launch TurningPoint.
Using a Downloaded Course
A course list from Turning Technologies Account can be loaded into TurningPoint Desktop to track participant results.
- Open TurningPoint 8 and sign into your account.
- From the Polling tab, select the course and the polling environment.
- Run and save the session.
- Close the polling environment to return to the Desktop Dashboard.
Uploading Grades to Blackboard Sync
Grades can be uploaded to Blackboard directly from the course within the Manage tab.
- Open the TurningPoint 8 and sign into your account.
- Select the Manage tab.
- Select the course.
- Click Upload Grades.
- Select the grade columns you want to upload and select Upload.
If using PowerPoint Polling, the software will look like PowerPoint with the addition of a PowerPoint Cloud ribbon. This help guide provides details for setting up PowerPoint polling.
- Ask Meaningful Questions - Learn how to engage students by asking the right type of questions.
- PowerPoint Polling - Learn how to get started with PowerPoint polling
Start of Semester Instructor Checklist
Follow this simple checklist to make sure that you’re ready to use TurningPoint for the start of the semester.
End of Semester Best Practices
Review these end-of-the-semester tips from TurningPoint to wrap up your semester.
- Most rooms are set to use channel 41 by default. If you feel there is interference because a nearby classroom is using the same channel, contact Classroom Services using the phone on the podium or by calling 777.6325.
- After the participant list has been loaded for a course, use the update feature to pull newly added/dropped students and ResponseCard/TurningPoint mobile information instead of loading it again. The update option can be found in the Integrations section.
- It is recommended to use 32-bit Microsoft Office with TurningPoint Clickers. The 64-bit Microsoft Office can potentially cause issues with TurningPoint mobile working properly. If you need help with installing 32-bit Microsoft Office, please contact UND Tech Support.
What is the difference between ResponseCards and TurningPoint mobile?
Response cards are frequently referred to as "clickers". They are hand-held devices that need to be purchased.
TurningPoint mobile is an app that can be installed on a device so that respondents can use a mobile device or laptop to respond instead of a ResponseCard.
What is the cost for ResponseCards or TurningPoint mobile?
ResponseCards (clickers) can be purchased from the UND Bookstore or the TurningTechnologies website. Check for updated pricing.
ResponseWare is a free app.
A TurningPoint Cloud license code is required to use both ResponseCards and the TurningPoint mobile app.
Do all UND Classrooms have a receiver and work with TurningPoint Response Systems?
TurningPoint receivers are available upon request. Contact Classroom Services at 701.777.6325 to see if the room you are teaching in is set up for TurningPoint or to request a receiver.
Where do my students go for help?
Turning Technologies Technical Support
Monday - Friday 8am - 9pm EST
Peer assessment occurs when students assess each other's work using a set of assessment criteria. The students can provide formative back (e.g., peer review) and/or summative assessment (e.g., students grading each other's work, moderated by a faculty member.)
Peer assessment is an effective method for students to be assessors and better understand assessment criteria, thereby increasing students' ownership of the assessment process. The peer assessment process can also motivate students to learn more deeply, improving critical thinking and self-awareness.
Depending on the context, peer assessment can be designed more openly (using discussion and comparison) or anonymously. Preparation, clear assessment crideria, and collective understanding of the assessment purpose, are all important for creating effective peer assessment.
Self-assessment involves students reflecting on their own work and assessing their own performance. Reflective skills enable students to analyze their strengths, as well as areas for potential improvement. Additionally, including students in the creation of assessment crideria serves to deepen their understanding of the process. Self-assessment can be implemented alone or in comination with peer assessment.
Group Work Assessment
Working in groups affords students opportunities to learn from each other's perspectives and collaborate effectively. Group work can foster valuable life skills, yet it can be difficult to fairly assess students' individual contributions to a group project. Assessment of the final group product is often easier, yet it is important to assess the working process of a group, if possible. The students in the group are in the best position to assess the working; thus, using peer assessments within the group allows students to rate each member's efforts during the group work.
Benefits of Peer and Self-Assessment
- Develop well-defined assessments crideria
- Encourage deep learning
- Generate timely feedback
- Support student-centered learning
- Enhance student motivation and engagement
- Assess comprehension, in addition to knowledge
- Foster cridical thinking skills and self-awareness
- Reduce instructor workload