There are a range of online assessment and feedback tools that may be better suited to your needs (and those of your students).
- WebPA allows students to assess each others contribution to group work. Contact OLAF Admin.
Turnitin now provides tools for giving students feedback and facilitating Peer feedback on written work in addition to plagiarism checking:
- Turnitin Feedback Studio – Mark essays and access feedback online. Includes reusable comments and marking Rubrics.
- PeerMark – Allows students to score and review the work of their peers.
Maths, Statistics and other disciplines
NUMBAs – Whilst some mathematical testing is possible though Blackboard, NUMBAs, developed by the School of Mathematics and Statistics here at Newcastle, offers more sophisticated assessment. It is used by several schools across the institution. See also http://numbas.mathcentre.ac.uk/
As a member of staff who is running an OLAF exam, you will be sent an email containing the link to the exam check page when your exam is ready for you to check. The exam check page makes it easier to check OLAF exam questions and settings (randomisation and feedback to students). Exams will appear on this page if they have the word OLAF in the title (e.g. ‘BIO1001 23rd May 2017 OLAF’) and the Available from setting is for a date in the future.
Please read the notes below before using the page.
- If you click the links on the page you will need to log into Blackboard with your standard username and password.
- If you believe the settings are wrong, please contact OLAF Admin so that we can make the changes for you and ensure they are not reset later incorrectly. Some of the options we use for exams may seem counter-intuitive. They may be set as they are for a reason.
- The start and end times are deliberately set to be available early (30 minutes before the start) and become unavailable 60 minutes after the finish. This is to allow students to get logged in and ready to enter the exam password at the start time.The extra time allows for students entitled to extra time and empowers the invigilator to give extensions if the group or individual students experience technical issues. The invigilator tells the students when to stop.
- The test is only visible to students during the Available from and Available to period. Even then, a password is required. The password is changed after the exam starts.
The page consists of a table with data about the exam and links to Edit and View the test and settings. Click the image below to expand and see the explanations.
To access the page use the link that has been emailed to you by the OLAF team.
- Please check the Available from and Available to columns to check the dates are correct (and that the time is correct with half an hour before, and 45 minutes after the official start and end times).
- Please check the columns for Randomise question and Scores are automatically released to students to make sure they are correct for your exam.
- Please check the Title of the exam. This is what the students will see in the exam room. Please contact email@example.com if you think this will not be meaningful to them. This is particularly important if there are exams in similar subject areas taking place, or if the same is exam is happening under two module codes. Delays can occur if students click the wrong link.
To edit the test or see the test in it’s entirety, click Edit the test. Sign in with your standard (Blackboard) username and password.
To see the test as a student would see it, you need to know the password:
- Click View the test options, log in with your Blackboard username and scroll down the screen to find and note the password.
- Return to the exam check page (the link that has been emailed to you by the OLAF team) and click Check student view.
- Log in with your standard username and password.
- A screen will open showing the instructions for the exam (this includes general information about the exam, as well as any specific instructions that have been created). Click Continue to move to the password screen.
- Enter the exam password you noted earlier, and click Submit.
- Work through the questions using the forward and backward arrows.
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.
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;
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.
On request, we can randomise the order in which the questions in an OLAF exam 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 questions makes checking the exam before it takes place trickier. You might need to allow extra set up time if using this option.
You can quickly check both the questions and answers to a test as an instructor. We also recommend checking the student view of the exam to see the final format.
To check the exam questions and answers as an instructor:
- Go to the module and the OLAF Admin area on the menu at the left.
- Ensure ‘Edit Mode‘ is On.
- You should see the exam at the bottom of the screen (scroll down if necessary). Click the downward pointing arrow next to the name of the exam.
- Click ‘Edit the test’.
- Scroll down to check the questions and answers. In particular, please look for any problems with special characters (accents, Greek characters or equations) as well as images.
- If you want to, you can click the drop down menu (downward pointing arrow) next to any question to make a change. Contact OLAF Admin if you need any assistance
To check what the exam looks like to a student:
Go to the module and the assignments area on the menu at the left.
- Ensure Edit Mode is On
- You should see the exam at the bottom of the screen (scroll down if necessary).
- Click the downward pointing arrow to the right of the exam name.
- Click ‘Edit the test options’.
- At the bottom of section 2 you will find the password that has been set (not necessarily the final password that will be used on the day of the exam – the exams office set that nearer the time). Note the password.
- Scroll to the bottom and click ‘Submit’.
- Click the name of the exam to take the test. Enter the password you noted earlier.
- Work through the exam. In particular, please look for any problems with special characters (accents, Greek characters or equations) as well as images.
One powerful feature of the online tests is that they can include images both in the question and as answers. Students can zoom in to the images if they need to see them better (by pressing ‘ctrl’ and ‘+’ on the keyboard or with the mouse wheel.)
There are some things that you do need to consider when using images:
- Please remember that more checking of the online version of the exam may be required to ensure the images appear correctly
- Screens may vary slightly in terms of contrast and resolution. Ensure that images are very clear, particularly where detail is important. Make sure that arrows or labels are suitable such that if the colour is slightly off on the monitor, or light is shining on the screen, the information can be ascertained. Use dark colours and reasonably thick lines if possible.
- If you are supplying us with the paper for conversion from Word, please use the recommended format and include the image within the body of the question ie after the question number and before the first answer. For example:
1. What geometric term is represented by the image below?
a. a corner
*b. a cross-section
c. the circumference
d. the perimeter
- Remember that the questions will be displayed ‘one at a time.’ Images that are required for more than one question will have to be repeated. Figure numbers are unnecessary.