All posts by Rebecca

Introducing the digital exams service

Building on the solid foundations of OLAF provision, and the successful first 2 years of the Diversifying and Expanding Online Exam Provision project, the University’s Technology Enhanced Learning Sub-Committee have approved the launch of a new combined Digital Exams service.

The story so far …

Newcastle University’s Online Assessment and Feedback (OLAF) Service has been running high stakes secure online exams using Blackboard’s test tool since 2007/08. The 13 years since that first exam have seen OLAF come of age, supported by well-established institutional processes that ensured all 132 OLAF exams in 2018/19 went smoothly.

In 2017/18 the Diversifying and Expanding Online Exam Provision project was launched, and the first of some new types of digital exams were piloted using software called WISEflow. Bring Your Own Device was introduced, enabling students to use their own laptops to sit a secure digital exam. Alongside this, moving essay and long written answer exam questions from paper to online has also become possible for the first time.

Continue reading Introducing the digital exams service

Expanding and diversifying online exam provision

In 2017/18 academic year the University launched a project that aims to make online summative assessment possible for a wide range of assessment types and in non-cluster environments, which is one of the objectives in the TEL Roadmap.

The project focuses on two key areas:

  • Expanding the types of online exams that we can deliver here at Newcastle
  • Exploring the possibility of students using their own laptops to take secure online exams

Continue reading Expanding and diversifying online exam provision

Learning and Teaching Conference 2017: Reimagining Teaching Excellence

In 2017 the Newcastle University annual Learning and Teaching Conference  took place on 27 March 2017.

Conference theme: Reimagining Teaching Excellence

Newcastle’s commitment to excellent teaching is at the heart of our University mission, and is crucial to our aim of providing an educational experience that challenges and supports our students to fulfil their potential.  At a time when external agencies are seeking to define this for us, it is more important than ever that we have a clear understanding of what we as an academic community understand by learninhe phrase ‘teaching excellence’.

Teaching excellence was therefore the focus of the 2017 Conference and the programme for the day provided an opportunity to:

  • hear an external view point on teaching excellence from keynote speaker Paul Blackmore – Professor of Higher Education at The Policy Institute, King’s College London
  • hear about what our staff and students view as teaching excellence
  • see examples of teaching practice and innovation from across the institution
  • contribute to how the University will pursue excellence in learning and teaching in the future through a session on the development of our new University Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Strategy.

 

Resources From The Day

Introduction Presentation from Professor Suzanne Cholerton

PowerPoint slides and ReCap recording

Keynote – Professor Paul Blackmore – Professor of Higher Education at The Policy Institute at King’s College London

PowerPoint slides and ReCap recording

Teaching Excellence at Newcastle

Newcastle Educators Group – Dr Vanessa Armstrong (Biomedical Sciences), Dr Sara Marsham (Marine Science & Technology) and Dr JC Penet (Modern Languages)

PowerPoint slides and ReCap recording

Teaching Excellence Awards (TEAs)

Chris Duddy (Education Officer, NUSU), David Jones (Assistant Development Officer, HaSS Faculty) and Joe Barton (Representation Support Worker, NUSU)

PowerPoint slidesReCap recording and TEAs Report 2016

Development of Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Strategy

Facilitated by Craig Smith from Flint Spark Consulting.

PowerPoint slides and ReCap recording (audio only)

Herschel Learning Lab – experiences of use

ReCap recording

Mrs Ulrike Thomas – Research Associate, Education Communication and Language Sciences) PowerPoint slides
Dr Ellen Tullo – Lecturer, Biomedical Sciences PowerPoint slides
Professor TT Arvind – Professor of Law, Newcastle Law School PowerPoint slides
Dr James Stanfield – Lecturer, Education Communication and Language Sciences Website
Miss Katie Wray – Lecturer, SAgE Faculty Office PowerPoint slides

Posters

View the list of poster presentations at the 2017 Learning and Teaching Conference, and view the posters online.

Amending or deleting a question from a test after it has taken place

We often get queries about whether it’s possible to amend or delete questions from a test in Blackboard when the test has already taken place.  The answer is yes – and if the test uses question types that have automatic grading Blackboard will automatically regrade the test to reflect the changes you make.

That said, there is a bug in Blackboard which on rare occasions can cause problems with students’ test attempts when you amend or delete a question.  To help safeguard against this we recommend that you take the steps below before you make any changes to a test after it has taken place.

Close the test and make sure that there are no attempts in progress

Ensure that the test is no longer available to students, so that there is no danger that they might be taking the test when you make the change.  To check this:

  1. Go to the Content Area where the test is deployed in the module, and hover over the name of the test.  Click on the dropdown arrow that appears, and select Edit test options:Edit test options
  2. EITHER under Test Availability make sure that for Make the link available the No option is selected:         Make link avail No
  3. OR/AND scroll down to the Display Until date, and make sure this is set to a date and time in the past (this can be 5 minutes from the current time):Display Until date & time
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the test options screen and click Submit to save any changes you have made.
  5. Open the Grade Centre by clicking on Control Panel > Grade Centre > Full Grade Centre.
  6. Find the column for the test, and scroll down to check whether there are any attempts in progress, shown with the ‘Attempt in progress’ icon of a blue clock:Attempt in progress icon
  7. If there are any attempts in progress submit them on behalf of the student if appropriate.  See ‘Attempt in progress’ grade centre icon for an explanation and instructions .

Export grade centre

  1. In the module, open the Full Grade Centre.  In menu bar at the top of the screen you’ll see the option Work Offline on the right hand side.  Click the down arrow and select Download:Work Offline
  2. In the Download Grades screen leave the default options selected, and click Submit.
  3. On the next screen click the Download button and save the file to an appropriate location (e.g. your H: drive or shared file space for your school).

Download test results

  1. In the Grade Centre find the column for the test, and click the dropdown arrow to the right of the column name.  Select Download Results from the menu:Download results
  2. In the Download Results screen leave the default options selected.  Click the button to download results, and again save to an appropriate location.

Note: both of these actions produce a .csv file, which you can open and amend in Excel as required.

Amend or delete a test question and regrade attempts

Once you have completed the steps above  you can go ahead and make the required changes to the test.

  1. Open the test canvas.  You can do this via the Control Panel > Tests, Surveys and Pools > Tests, then hover over the name of the exam and click the dropdown arrow.  Select the Edit Test option.
  2. Scroll to the question that you need to amend or delete, and hover over the title.  Click the dropdown arrow that appears:Edit question dropdown
  3. To amend a question select Edit from the dropdown menu.  Make the required changes.  Click Submit and Update Attempts.  Blackboard will display a warning message; click OK, and the test will automatically be regraded:amending question warning
  4. To delete a question select Delete and Regrade from the dropdown menu.  Blackboard will display a warning message.  Click OK, and the test will automatically be regraded:deleting question warning
  5. Once you have amended or deleted all of the required questions, check the Grade Centre column for the test to ensure that the attempts have been automatically graded as expected.

‘Attempt in Progress’ icon in grade centre

Why this happens:

After you have run a Blackboard test or an OLAF exam that is automatically marked, the students’ grades appear in the grade centre as soon as they press the ‘Save and Submit’ button at the end of the test.  If a student forgets to press the button, instead of their grade in the grade centre you will see an ‘attempt in progress’ icon of a blue clock.   An example of this is shown below:

Gradecentre attempt in progress

To override this you can submit the attempt on behalf of the student.

 

To submit a test attempt on behalf of a student:

1. Hover your mouse over the grade centre cell with the attempt in progress icon, and click on the dropdown arrow.  Click on ‘Attempt’, as shown below:

Gradecentre click on attempt

2. The student’s attempt will open.  Click on the arrow at the right of the ‘Test Information’ bar to expand it.

3. The Status will show ‘In Progress’.  Click on the ‘Submit Attempt’ button, circled in the example below:

Expand test info, submit attempt button

4. A popup will appear asking you to confirm that you want to submit the attempt on behalf of the student.  Click OK.

5. The Status will now show ‘Completed’.  Either click ‘Exit’ to return to the grade centre, or use the left and right arrows on either side of the student’s name near the top of the screen to scroll to the next student’s attempt.