Category Archives: 2. Creating the test

Format for conversion from a Word document

The Learning and Teaching Development Service uses software called Respondus to convert the exam and also to produce print versions of the exam.  Respondus is also now available for University staff to use, find out more here.

If you would like LTDS to convert an exam from Word, or if you are going to convert it yourself using Respondus, it needs to be in the format shown in the linked document. Respondus format. See simple example below.

Example Exam Question:

Title: Speed of Light. 

3) Who determined the exact speed of light?

a. Albert Einstein

*b. Albert Michelson

c. Thomas Edison

d. Guglielmo Marconi

NOTE: Respondus only converts the following question types:

  • multiple choice
  • true-false
  • essay – not currently supported in locked down exams
  • fill in the blank
  • jumbled sentence
  • ordering questions
  • matching
  • multiple answer questions

Respondus cannot convert calculated formula questions and has no support for Hot Spot questions. These types need to be created online. Hot spot questions will need to be added manually into the paper version of the exam. The other questions can be pulled down from Blackboard to Respondus for printing (with answers for external examiners to check and without answers as a backup for students).

If you are using a paper based exam that is currently very different to this, please get in touch with OLAF Admin in good time  and we can look at  how it will work.

Changing the instructions students see in a test

You can add some instructions to a test to explain how it will be marked, how to enlarge text and how to manipulate image sizes etc.

Note: The instructions appear at the top of each question. Avoid having too much instruction as this will push the questions down the page.

How to add/edit instructions.

1. Either

Go to the course and the area where the test is deployed. Use the drop-down menu to the right of the test name to Edit the test; 

OR

Go to Course Tools under Control Panel, Tests, Test Canvas and click the drop-down to the right of the test name and click Edit).

2. Click the drop-down menu next to the test name at the top of the screen.

3. Scroll down to find the instructions box. Type the instructions and click Submit.

 

Randomised tests

On request, we can randomise the order in which the exam questions appear to students. This can be:

  • Completely randomised. Students would see the test in an entirely different order.
  • Randomised in sections. For example, there might be a section on Marx followed by a section on Hegel. Students would see the sections in the same order, but questions within each section in a different order

Randomising the test does prohibit certain post exam reporting, particularly the Attempt Statistics report if you randomise in blocks. It also makes checking the exam before it takes place trickier. You might need to allow extra set up time if using this option.

Don’t re-invent the wheel each year!

In following years, it is much more efficient and effective to work from the questions that were tested online by students in exams, than to get a Word version converted from scratch again. The conversion process, particularly if you have not followed the suggested format, can introduce errors.

You can:

  1. Tag and use last year’s questions.
  2. Copy and amend last year’s test.
  3. Ask us to produce an editable version of last year’s test that will convert more easily.

Respondus – software for converting tests to and from Microsoft Word

About Respondus

We now have a site licence for Respondus. This allows you to:

  • Download tests to print (with and without an answer key)
  • Convert correctly formatted Word documents to online test format
  • Create tests offline
  • Copy tests between courses
  • Deployment to one or multiple courses
  • Download tests from publishers signed up to the test bank network

Installing and Activating Respondus

  1. Get in touch with your computing officer to arrange for installation. They should also provide the required account information and  password.
  2. When you first run Respondus, you will be prompted to enter the information.
  3. The info you need to get started is
    Institution Name:   Newcastle University
    Local Support Contact(s):  Rebecca Gill, e-mail: rebecca.gill@ncl.ac.uk; Marc Bennett, e-mail: marc.bennett@ncl.ac.uk
    The installation  password (which your IT officer should provide. We cannot publicise it through this blog)

Connecting to a server

The first time you download or upload questions, you will need to set up the connection with the server From the Publish wizard:

  1. Choose ‘Add new server’
  2. Select ‘Check for predefined settings
  3. Enter your Blackboard user id and password
  4. Do not check the box to ‘Test the connection‘ as this does not always work (even when the settings are correct)

If you have any problems, ensure that the box in the settings called ‘Login Page’ says ‘relogin’ rather than login at the end, eg “/webapps/logon/?action=relogin”

Help and Guides

Demonstration Movies – Short demonstration movies are available at: http://www.respondus.com/products/respondus/demos.shtml . A full-length training video is available at http://respondus.com/products/respondus/training.shtml . These are great resources for introducing and training instructors on Respondus 4.0.

Quick Start Guide – A Quick Start Guide for Respondus 4.0 is available for download from www.respondus.com/quickstart . This Quick Start Guide is 3 pages in length and contains the essential information for getting started with Respondus 4.0.

User Guide – If you prefer a printed user guide, go to http://www.respondus.com/products/userguide.shtml . These user guides are provided in MS Word format so that institutions can easily edit/add information that pertains to their institution.

Online Help – Online help is available from within the Respondus 4.0 application. Context-sensitive help is available by pressing the F1 key. Or, go to Help > Help Topics to access the main help system.

Respondus Test Bank Network –The test banks are in a ready-to-use format and can be accessed with Respondus 4.0 for free by instructors who adopt a participating textbook.  More information is available at http://www.respondus.com/testbank .