Thursday, September 4, 2008

Testing Millennials Via Blackboard

Recently, I decided to administer my tests online. This has been very challenging for me, because I know some students may take advantage of this opportunity. I researched this issue for a few years and I decided to implement online testing in all of my classes (lower level and upper level).

My first test had 25 questions and the students had 30 minutes to complete the examination. One of the classes is longer than the others and this class was given 15 extra minutes to take the examination. This class also served as my variable in this semi experimental research design.

This time, my main focus was on minimizing the opportunities that students may use to cheat on the test. Here are some other things that I did:

a) I reminded the students that cheating on this test will put them at a disadvantage in the future. (The next test (midterm) will be worth more points and I will be present to proctor the examination.)

b) I randomized the questions and answer choices on the examination.

c) I informed the students that I could see when two students or more took the examination at the same time.

d) I created a database of 40+ questions and blackboard randomly chose which questions would create the test of 25 questions for each student.

This is a great website that helped me! - Problems with Online Testing

If you have any additional suggestions, please let me know! I hope that this helps!

-Millennial Professor


  1. I have also been experimenting with BlackBoard quizzes online since last spring and found that they work out well, giving me extra time in the classroom for lectures and other activities.

    My experiment with BB quizzes involved a workbook my department requires students to purchase, but few instructors actually use (it's a revenue-generating product for the department).

    Rather than ignoring the materials in the workbook, I decided to assign it as required reading, touch on it from time-to-time in the lecture, and test students over the reading material with a BlackBoard quiz. I used the "test-bank" option to reduce the likelihood of students receiving the same questions. Since this will be an open-book assessment, the questions in the quiz are phrased at a level where the students must have read the materials beforehand in order to find the answers in the workbook; those who opt to skip the reading and attempt to search for the answers during the quiz will run out of time.

    The quizzes turned out quite successful, with scores revealing who read the assigned materials and who did not. A check on students who fared poorly showed that they did not do the reading, and ran out of time searching for the answers. My biggest snag came from a night class I taught with a lot of non-traditional students who appear to have a lower level of computer literacy than younger students.

  2. Anonymous,

    I admit that the Blackboard (Bb) assessments/quizzes enabled me to have more time to research this semester.

    Our department has a workbook as well. I need to incorporate the material from this workbook in my everyday classes. I am not sure how I will merge the two in a speech course, but I think that it can be done.

    Based on your comments, I will definitely try to merge the workbook and the Bb assessment in the spring. This will definitely help!

    -Millennial Professor


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