Blackboard Tests – Creating Online Assessment Activities for your Students

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Online tests and quizzes can be created for your students using the Tests function in Blackboard. Tests can be provided as a formative method of assessment, as a self-assessment method for students, or as a more formal means of assessing student performance. 

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit have recently updated our Blackboard Tests guidance, to support staff in providing online assessment activities for students.

Why Use Blackboard Tests in my module?
Benefits to Students:

  • Reinforce learning. Research has shown that tests and quizzes are powerful tools to promote retrieval practice, aid revision and improve learning.
  • Valuable feedback. Blackboard Tests can provide varied, additional feedback opportunities for students.
  • Media rich experience. Videos, images and links to recordings and external resources can be provided within the questions and answers.
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  • Using Third Party Software for Learning and Teaching

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    As we move to planning and delivering teaching online, we have to become creative with the tools that we use.

    Whilst advice so far has been to use technologies that both you and your students are familiar with, there might be a good reason to try a different platform that is not supported or hosted by AU.

    If you are considering using a different platform, do bear in mind the company’s privacy statements and find out what they do with personal data (yours and your students’). For example, Zoom, a video conferencing software, has some great functionality especially around creating breakout rooms. Their privacy statement does, however, show that they collect a wide range of information from both the meeting organiser and participants.

    The same principles apply to polling software by third parties. In a previous blogpost, we wrote about being mindful of what is happening to yours and your students’ data. Do ask yourselves when selecting a third party platform:

    • what personal data the company in question is collecting about you;
    • what personal data your students may be required to give;
    • how are your presentations stored;
    • how and where your data is kept.

    Most companies make their Privacy Policy easy to find. On most sites, you can find a link at the bottom of the homepage under the heading Privacy.

    We are on hand to help you and your students transition to online learning.  Do be aware that our expertise is in supporting the technologies we host here at AU, so it may take a little longer to assist you with queries about other platforms. Many of the principles and best practice about teaching with technology apply regardless of platform, and we will be more than happy to help you with this.

    We’re not discouraging you from using these platforms, but we do want you to consider the implications for your and your students’ data before doing so, so that you can make an informed choice on how to deliver learning.

    If you have any questions about online teaching, please don’t hesitate to contact us on elearning@aber.ac.uk / 01970 622472.

    If you have any questions about data protection and using third party software, including potential personal data breaches, please contact the Information Governance Manager on infocompliance@aber.ac.uk.

    You can find further information on Learning and Teaching Continuity on our webpages as well as our FAQs.

    Teaching Online? How to make Blackboard Activities more interactive with Adaptive Release

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    Following the move to online teaching, this blogpost is intended to give you some ideas about how to make your Blackboard Course Site more interactive for students. In the first of this series of blogposts, we’ll be looking explicitly at a feature called Adaptive Release.

    The move to online teaching, if anything, shows us that Blackboard is a powerful learning tool that can be used for a wide variety of learning activities and not solely as a place in which materials are accessed, lectures are watched, and assignments are submitted. Key to the design of online and digital learning is thinking about what activities you want your students to be doing in addition to what resources they need access to.

    One of the most powerful, yet underused tools, in Blackboard is Adaptive Release. Adaptive Release gives you the opportunity to release content based on a series of rules. The most common of these is to limit content based on dates and times or by a user or group of students, but you can also use Adaptive Release to release content after students have completed a certain activity or reviewed certain materials.

    For example, if you’ve got two lectures that students have got to view but you don’t want them to move straight onto the second lecture without having assessed their understanding of the first lecture. Additionally, understanding the content of the second lecture might be dependent on the content covered in the first lecture.

    If you’d like to limit moving onto the second lecture:

    Adaptive Release such as the above scenario links to a Grade in the Grade Centre. There are a number of rules that you can apply. For example, you could set the rule so that students have to get a specific mark in the test before they are able to see the content to demonstrate their understanding.

    In this scenario, you can ensure that students have gained sufficient knowledge and understanding from the content whilst also creating an environment that responds directly to their activity.